Theatrical Musings
Shakespeare In Santa Monica
By Claire Pelonis
Aug 9, 2012 - 6:00:18 AM

SANTA MONICA—Shakespeare Santa Monica invites you to come enjoy the plays of William Shakespeare against the backdrop of beautiful Santa Monica. The company’s ninth season opens Friday, August 10.

Every summer since its inception in July 2004, SSM has presented Shakespeare in a multitude of environments around the city including tennis courts, the beach, Miles Playhouse, and Clover Park. According to their mission statement, the company believes that, “Shakespeare is most successful when it becomes a part of the fabric of our community.” The company believes Santa Monica is an ideal city for this project. “Santa Monica’s natural beauty and cultural savvy make it the perfect locale amongst its neighboring communities for being a center of cultural dynamism.”

Founding Artistic Director, John Farmanesh-Bocca, is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. He is the founder of SSM as well as its sister company, Not Man Apart Physical Theatre Company. At the seventh season opening, Farmanesh-Bocca explained to his audience that, “It’s not really complicated big words, it’s just complicated construction of thoughts. So listen for the thoughts”¦ We are going to express the poetics thought by thought. This is Shakespeare’s meditation on love.”

One of the main functions of Shakespeare Santa Monica is a summer intensive workshop to train graduate level students in classical theater acting. The elite program only accepts between 20 and 22 applicants per season. These men and women work together to create an alive theater experience for a variety of audiences.

CSULB graduate and current SSM performer, Ashley Bonzell, told Canyon News, “As a young actor, SSM is awesome not only because we get the chance to work with more experienced actors, but because the tennis court is hugely challenging in terms of playing a show with all the nuances of a smaller, indoor stage. Shakespeare is already a workout, and doing it on the court feels like a marathon.”

Farmanesh-Bocca’s approach to Shakespeare inspires his performers each season. “I am so grateful for John’s direction because he is wonderfully able to communicate to a broad range of actors. He teaches as he directs, sharing his own experience, which enriches ours,” said Bonzell.

Guillermo Parga, Company Manager and Stage Manager for Shakespeare Santa Monica, proudly explained to Canyon News, “This is our ninth season. We’re bringing in kids from the Boys and Girls Club’s in Santa Monica and Venice, and a few other groups to come see the show.” SSM offers free tickets to under-served children in the surrounding areas through the Young Audiences Development Program.

This season looks to be their most successful so far. The company will present summer evening performances of “All’s Well That Ends Well” on August 10, 11, 12, 18, 19 and 25, and “The Taming of the Shrew” on August 16, 17, 23, and 24. All performances begin at 8:00p.m.

In the spirit of their unique company, this season’s productions will be held outdoors at Reed Park in Tournament Tennis Court #1, located at 7th St. and Wilshire in Santa Monica. The show is pay what you can, with a suggested donation of $20. If you would like to reserve seats, tickets can be purchased at

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