The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga, California, there is a revival
of one of America’s most volatile years -1968 whirled together with
Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure.
The themes of “sex, liberation and the death penalty” are only the tip of the
iceberg in this timely and engaging presentation of Shakespeare’s work by a
most talented crew of Theatricum actors.
plays and playwrights last, and when a play speaks to a similar era in history
– one that aligns with our current situation – it is exciting to explore this
connection before an audience for deeper understanding of the play and its
message,” says Director Ellen Geer. “1968 was a turbulent time in American
History… Theatricum’s Measure for Measure
interprets the story of a government at a crossroads with humor, pathos and a
recognition that an ‘eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth’ can be softened
with love and compassion; laws and ethics can and should be re-examined by
heeding the citizens’ cries,” she continues.
Actor Gerald C. Rivers, a 15-year veteran at Theatricum and best known for his
uncanny in-character likeness in voice, message and mannerisms of Dr. Martin
Luther King, gave a dynamic performance both as MLK and as the pimp-swaggering
Pompey. Actor Adam Mondschein, a recent MFA graduate from UCLA, performed the
character of Angelo with great command. This was his first Equity role at
Theatricum. Actor Willow Geer, who studied at the London Academy of Theatre as
well as UCLA, gave a heart-felt performance as Isabella. Melora Marshall, who
has been with Theatricum since its inception and has performed at the Mark
Taper Forum as well as in film and television, gave a tour de force performance
as the lively swinging male role of Lucio.
“The ‘60s were all about change,” says Ellen Geer. “It was an era that saw
people becoming actively involved, when issues of women’s rights, religious
freedoms and the emergence of Black and Latino pride were at the forefront of
political debate. Measure for Measure
is one of Shakespeare’s quieter comedies, a little more serious in its subject
matter, but with a happy ending nonetheless,” she continues.
The Theatricum Botanicum continues to provide a mystical getaway from the
hustle and bustle of Los Angeles while providing inspiring and
thought-provoking performances that are both timely and essential for today’s
society. This summer is sure to be another successful year for the Theatricum
and it is well worth the trip - just remember to bring cushions and a blanket
at night to stay cozy and comfortable at this outside sanctuary of the
Measure” continues through September 1st, 2012 at the Will Geer Theatricum
Botanicum, 1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., in Topanga. For reservations call
(310)455-3723 or visit www.theatricum.com.