October 2, 2014

Theatricum Gets the Royal Treatment

 

Theatricum Honored by the Queen, Shakespeare and Scholars.

PHOTO BY IAN FLANDERS

Theatricum Gets the Royal Treatment

The Theatricum Botanicum company of players and William Shakespeare (center) with Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth I atop a noble white steed in the garden of the theatre.

Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum threw a splendid party to celebrate Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday on Saturday, July 26.

As guests entered the shady grove, they were greeted by a group of “Merry Minstrels” singing authentic madrigals. Guests were also treated to lovely Bach Suites played by Marshall McDaniel on the cello. Actors roamed the grounds reciting sonnets and enacting scenes from Shakespeare’s plays.

PHOTO BY ANNEMARIE DONKIN MESSENGER © 2014

Theatricum Gets the Royal Treatment

From left, the Rev. Dr. Paul Edmondson and Dr. Paul Prescott of “Shakespeare on the Road,” presented to TheatricumArtistic Director Ellen Geer (center) andMikko Sperber, President of the Theatricum Board of Directors, one of only 14 commemorative plaques in recognition of the company’sFrom left, the Rev. Dr. Paul Edmondson and Dr. Paul Prescott of “Shakespeare on the Road,” presented to TheatricumArtistic Director Ellen Geer (center) andMikko Sperber, President of the Theatricum Board of Directors, one of only 14 commemorative plaques in recognition of the company’sFrom left, the Rev. Dr. Paul Edmondson and Dr. Paul Prescott of “Shakespeare on the Road,” presented to TheatricumArtistic Director Ellen Geer (center) andMikko Sperber,President of the Theatricum Board of Directors, one of only 14 commemorative plaques in recognition of the company’s

There was a juggler who delighted children of all ages.

Tucked inside a tent underneath the oak trees, Patrice Winter, proprietor of The Angel in Your Kitchen, offered up savory pasties (hand pies) and sweet treats inspired by Shakespeare’s plays.

Soon, a herald called out and Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth I entered on a stunning white horse with William Shakespeare by her side.

Everyone kneeled in her Majesty’s honor as a company of players sang “Oh My Heart” from the play Henry VIII for her Majesty.

“Hello, I claim you for England,” the Queen declared. “What a brave new world that has such people in it.”

The Queen also greeted the assembled crowd and asked about modern customs, especially games, plays, music and dance.

An actress in the company explained that the Theatricum was currently mounting a production of “Queen” Lear.

PHOTO BY ANNEMARIE DONKIN MESSENGER © 2014

Theatricum Gets the Royal Treatment

From left, William Shakespeare and HRH Queen Elizabeth I discuss plays, acting and history with actor Taylor Jackson Ross, who currently appears in Lear and Much Ado About Nothing at the Theatricum.

Her Majesty. obviously delighted, said, “We need more Queens and fewer Kings!”

Mikko Sperber, president of the Theatricum Board of Directors, greeted the Queen and presented Susan Angelo, Education Director, and Ellen Geer, Theatricum’s esteemed Artistic Director.

The Queen and Shakespeare then joined the British Council West Coast director Simon Gammell, OBE, for a presentation to the Theatricum for 40 years of outstanding effort in presenting Shakespeare’s works.

PHOTO BY ANNEMARIE DONKIN MESSENGER © 2014

Theatricum Gets the Royal Treatment

William Shakespeare, HRH Queen Elizabeth I and Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky in front of the plaque presented to the Theatre by Shakespeare scholars from the University of Warwick in England.

Following the Queen, L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky issued a proclamation to the British delegation for their recognition of the Theatricum as a major force mounting the Bard’s productions, in addition to their role in bringing his works to schoolchildren across the Southland.

“I want to thank the Theatricum Botanicum for inviting me to this auspicious occasion,” he said. “King George III would have fought harder to keep it if he knew about Topanga.”

After Yaroslavsky’s proclamation, the Rev. Dr. Paul Edmondson and Dr. Paul Prescott of “Shakespeare on the Road,” presented the Theatricum, one of only 14 American festivals selected for the road trip, with a commemorative plaque in recognition of the company’s deep commitment to continuing Shakespeare’s legacy in America.

“Thank you everyone. We come in peace,” Prescott said. “This project is about a special relationship with Shakespeare in America; you have kept his work smart and savvy. Every summer, from sea to shining sea, Shakespeare breaks out everywhere on the map, only in America, where hundreds of thousands of people get a dose of Shakespeare every year. That is because there are 263 Shakespeare festivals in the United States and the Theatricum is one of 14 festivals we chose to visit.”

Representing the University of Warwick and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, “Shakespeare on the Road” is making a 60-day road trip to Shakespeare festivals across the U.S. to document American celebrations of the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth. (Learn more at Shakespeareontheroad.com).

During their visit to Theatricum, Drs. Edmondson and Prescott interviewed staff, teachers, students and performers, and attended repertory performances of Lear, All’s Well That Ends Well and Much Ado About Nothing.

“We heard about this place and it’s impossible not to want to come here. We accept your proclamation wholeheartedly,” Prescott said. “We are here for 63 days and will see 38 productions; this is stop number five.”

Edmondson also spoke about their impressions of Topanga: “We all fell in love with this place,” he said. “We interviewed actors, board members, Ellen Geer and visitors. “We are on a reverse pilgrimage in celebration of Shakespeare’s birth.”

Edmondson said they had already traveled to Missouri, Texas and Utah and will soon visit the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ontario, Canada and festivals in San Francisco, Montana, Washington D.C., Chicago and Harlem.

PHOTO BY ANNEMARIE DONKIN MESSENGER © 2014

Theatricum Gets the Royal Treatment

Sculpted by artist Greg Wyatt, the plaque is made from 150-year-old Cedar of Lebanon wood from Shakespeare's garden in Stratford-upon-Avon and was mounted permanently on the box office, a shady spot on the theater’s grounds.

To conclude the presentation, the Shakespeare scholars presented Ellen Geer with one of the 14 wooden plaques created specifically for the occasion.

Sculpted by artist Greg Wyatt, the plaque is made from 150-year-old Cedar of Lebanon wood from Shakespeare's garden in Stratford-upon-Avon and was mounted permanently on the box office, a shady spot on the theater’s grounds.

PHOTO BY ANNEMARIE DONKIN MESSENGER © 2014

Theatricum Gets the Royal Treatment

PatriceWinter, of The Angel in Your Kitchen, held up the (delicious) commemorative cake for William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday party.

After the presentations, everyone enjoyed lemonade and a specially made birthday cake for Shakespeare baked by Patrice Winter of The Angel in Your Kitchen.

Geer, who stars in the gender-reversed Lear currently onstage at the Theatricum, commented on the impact of being one of the venues in the United States honored by Shakespeare on the Road scholars.

“The honor from the Shakespeare Trust of Stratford, England is for how Theatricum serves L.A. audiences and students with the classics,” Geer said. “We would not have reached this high recognition from the birthplace of Shakespeare without Topanga and L. A. County cheering us on. This award is to our community, too. Come see the beautiful plaque on our box office wall. Our own Queen Elizabeth I arrived on a white steed with Shakespeare on foot by her side in true Topanga style!”