When I first moved to Los Angeles in the late ’80’s I saw a sign in Malibu with an intriguing, odd name. “Will Geer’s Theatricium Botanicum”. What could this place be, I wondered? On August 2, 10:30 am I get to find out first hand- and I hope you will join me there, because I have been doing some research on Mr. Geer and this fantastical place…INCREDIBLE!
Like many (of my generation) I remembered Will Geer as the actor who lived and died as Grandfather on The Waltons, a TV show my family watched together regularly. He passed away while shooting the series, and his death was incorporated into the plot. It was a profound moment in our household.
He had a master’s in botany; sang with Seeger, Ives and Guthrie; acted on Broadway; organized in San Francisco; blacklisted in Hollywood. He was a family man and a friend of Dorothy. He had a life! He spoke his mind, lived his conscience, paid the price and ultimately reaped the reward. He moved his family to Topanga Canyon, selling vegetables to make ends meet and founding a theatre where blacklisted actors and musicians could perform. That theatre has continued to grow and thrive.
Now that I have learned a little about Will, I can’t help but put together a set list for next Sunday that he might like- folk songs and stories, plenty of Woody, some Robert Frost and songs which foster a our connection to and understanding of others. Songs that, when we sing them together make the world a better place.
If you are interested in the man, the history, the lush garden, planted with every plant mentioned by Shakespeare, if you love to join in song- please join us! Sunday morning, August 2nd at 10:30 am. We will raise our spirits and our voices together in this beautiful place for one hour.