TOPANGA, CALIF.: Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum has announced its 2017 lineup, featuring five plays that will open in sequence and then play throughout the summer.
“Each of the plays emphasizes how critical it is to resist and struggle against the forces of inequality and injustice—while also reminding us that there’s humor in being human,” said artistic director Ellen Geer in a statement.
The first to open will be Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice (June 3), in which a merchant and his friend take loans from a Jewish moneylender, Shylock, in order to woo a woman. Geer will direct.
Next will be the return of Theatricum’s production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (June 4). Four lovers and a troupe of actors find themselves in a magical forest abundant with fairies eager to play tricks on the humans. Melora Marshall will direct.
Next up will be Animal Farm (June 18), adapted for the stage by Sir Peter Hall from George Orwell’s novel, with music by Richard Peaslee and lyrics by Adrian Mitchell. The play is a satirical look at corruption and power told through the hierarchy of farm animals.
Following will be Other Desert Cities (July 8), by Jon Robin Baitz. Brooke Wyeth returns home to California after living on the East Coast for six years, reopening wounds from the family’s tragic past. Mary Jo Duprey will direct.
The last to open will be Trouble in Mind (July 29), by Alice Childress. Set on a Broadway stage, this comedy looks at the racial divide as the cast rehearses for an old play full of racist remarks.
Theatricum Botanicum is a summer outdoor theatre which aims to present classics and socially relevant plays.