The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum (Latin for "Garden Theatre") of Los Angeles recently opened its 18th annual repertory season with a production of William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. Directed by Ellen Geer (the late Will Geer's daughter), the play runs throughout the summer on Sundays at 4 PM.
Other plays on the 2000 schedule include Harold and Maude, adapted by Colin Higgins from his notorious movie about a melancholy young man obsessed with funerals and the 80-year-old, free-spirited woman who offers him lessons in love and taking chances. Heidi Helen Davis directs the black comedy, which runs July 8-Sept. 30. Thornton Wilder's classic Our Town follows with a July 29-Oct. 21 run, with another Shakespeare play, A Midsummer Night's Dream completing the schedule, Sept. 1-Oct. 22.
Theatricum Botanicum works out of a rustic, outdoor ravine in the Santa Monica mountains which is surrounded by nature. Geer opened a theatre here in the late 50s as a haven for fellow artists and folksingers who were victims of the McCarthy era blacklisting. Theatricum Botanicum was a recipient of the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle 1999 Margaret Hartford Award for Sustained Excellence.
A new take-out cafe operates on the grounds, but patrons are urged to bring a picnic to enjoy on the grounds. The theatre is located at 1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd. For tickets and information call (310) 455-3723.
-- By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent