Shakespeare in Topanga Canyon, Hillside of CA.

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Theatricum Botanicum kicks off its 2010 Summer Repertory Season with two offerings from the Bard. Artistic director Ellen Geer directs Hamlet, opening on Saturday, June 5 at 8 pm. Melora Marshall directs Theatricum’s one-of-a-kind, signature production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, opening on Sunday, June 6 at 3:30 pm. Both plays will run in repertory throughout the summer in the Theatricum’s 299-seat outdoor amphitheater, carved into the Topanga Canyon hillside.

Following the death of his father, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, returns home to find his uncle now occupies the throne and the queen’s bed. Spurred by the ghost of his father and surrounded by spies, Hamlet must avenge his father’s murder.

Fans of Shakespeare’s seminal revenge tragedy might want to think about seeing the Theatricum production twice: longtime company members Mike Peebler and Jeff Wiesen don’t just alternate performances in the title role – each also plays Laertes to the other’s Hamlet.

“Our actors are accustomed to playing multiple roles in numerous plays each season, and also to double casting – but with Hamlet we’re trying something new,” explains Geer. “It’s been a wonderful rehearsal period. Mike and Jeff work together like a dream, watching each other and listening to each other’s notes. They have set a wonderful tone for the whole company to emulate.

See what food to pack for dining before the show: Picnic tips in Video Section

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