A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM by William Shakespeare The natural beauty of our Topanga environment transforms once again into an enchanted forest, peopled by lovers and fairies. Comic misadventures, mistaken identities and unrequited love are reconciled by magic, midsummer revelries and the enduring power of nature. Theatricum cannot do a season without serving this beautiful play. The perfect experience to introduce your family to the world of Shakespeare.
CORIOLANUS by William Shakespeare
It is the early days of the Roman Empire, a government still finding its true identity, to be solely a militaristic power or emerge as a democratic republic driven by the will and voice of its citizens. Following a glorious victory, the great Roman warrior, Coriolanus, admired and revered for his brutal courage and love of country is poised to take his place among the senate, but he must first win the votes of the people. Unable to reconcile his truthful, albeit arrogant and angry nature against that of the vacillating public, petty politicians, and pundits of the day, he is berated for his imperious temper, and his demeaning outlook of the common man and banished from his country. Struggling with the loss of his family, a desire for revenge and molded by the lessons of his ambitious patrician mother, he pursues an alliance with an old foe, looking to restore his place within his world and justify the singularity of purpose to which he desperately clings…with unforeseen consequences.
THE CRUCIBLE by Arthur Miller
Salem, Massachusetts in 1692, a community staunch in its beliefs, where even the most mundane tasks of everyday life are strictly dictated by that philosophical code. A system of governance designed not only to regulate, but also to protect. But when a group of young girls, accompanied by a local slave, Tituba, are discovered in a forbidden act, dancing in the woods, rumors of witchcraft suddenly consume the town throwing it into chaos. Refusing to admit any wrong-doing, the girls quickly turn the tables on their accusers and set off a chain reaction that leads to a dark secret lurking beneath the veneer of this seemingly simple and uncomplicated world that threatens to expose the entire system as nothing but a shameful lie.
While the play was written in 1953, its author, Arthur Miller, wrote it in response to the American political scandals of the HUAC trials which he felt could be better illustrated by this reflection…
“It is simply impossible to discuss what is happening to us in contemporary terms. There has to be distance, given the phenomena. We are all going slightly crazy trying to be honest and trying to see straight and trying to be safe…it seemed to me the hysteria in Salem had a certain inner procedure or several which we were duplicating once again…by revealing the nature of the procedure…some light could be thrown on what we are doing to ourselves. “ Arthur Miller
THE CHALK GARDEN by Enid Bagnold
“I will continue to explore the astonishment of living!”
A telling metaphor… from a play that is itself a metaphor about a family stuck in a place where the living things are unable to grow and flourish. Deftly written with a richly dry wit that gives the characters savory language mixing light and dark, it is a perfect blend of satirical humor and insightful truths. Set in the 1950’s, in a seaside English manor house built for a bygone era of social convention and certainty, the ambiguity of humanity is told through the eyes of a mysterious woman who shakes up its inhabitants to confront the change that is pressing in on them. The matriarch of the manor has two obsessions; caring for her troubled teenage granddaughter, and growing a traditional English garden in the harsh lime and chalk soil of the surrounding grounds. Miss Madrigal arrives for the post of governess to the girl, without references, but with a keen knowledge of gardening, and is hastily hired. She soon takes things in hand, and begins to teach her new ‘charges’ that adversity does not predetermine defeat once we embrace the tools we have and stop bemoaning the lack of those we desire. All is going well as her influence begins to lift the cloud and spirits of the household until an afternoon luncheon with an old family friend threatens the peace with the uncomfortable revelations his visit unintentionally exposes.
HAITI by William DuBois
This exciting melodrama takes us to the beautiful isle of Haiti in the1790’s. The play begins as the great leader of the Haitian revolution, Toussaint L’Ouverture, is preparing to marshal the citizens of St. Dominque to defend against a final military insurgence to defeat them in their rebellion to establish the free island nation that would become Haiti. Once a slave-colony, the freedom promised by the French monarch is now in question as France is in the midst of the revolution led by Napoleon, with its own future still uncertain. Now Napoleon’s troupes are landing on their shores to reclaim the colony as a subject of the new regime and to restore the bonds of enslavement to its citizens. When the forces arrive, accompanied by their wives, they set up headquarters in the abandoned estate once owned by one of the most notorious slave owners from island’s past…his granddaughter, married to a French Colonel, is among them. As she settles into her ‘new home’ she finds herself inexplicably drawn to the cause of the rebels, and inadvertently thrust into the intrigue of their underground movement. All the while, under the same roof, her husband and his fellow officers plot their strategies against the people she feels compelled to protect.