“The past is a foreign country,” author L.P. Hartley famously wrote in his book The Go-Between. Perhaps that’s why we hold on to the postcards…
Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum presents the world premiere of The Last, Best Small Town, a modern-day Our Town by L.A.-based Latinx playwright John Guerra. Performances begin Saturday, July 31 on Theatricum’s beautiful outdoor stage in Topanga, where they continue through Nov. 7.
Spanning the years 2005 to 2009 and narrated by the “Playwright” (Leandro Cano, seen in American Falls at Echo Theater Company, Colony Collapse at Boston Court), The Last, Best Small Town introduces us to a pair of neighboring families in the nearby Ventura County town of Fillmore — the self-proclaimed “Last, Best Small Town in Southern California.”
Like the two families in his play, Guerra grew up straddling two worlds. His mother’s family is from Mexico via Boyle Heights, while his father is Caucasian, from the Midwest.
“The play is also a way for me to reckon with my own identity,” Guerra continues. “A lot of the issues that Maya and Elliot struggle with were my own as I came of age, and the conversations about race they are forced to confront are ones that, as someone who is mixed, are constantly going on within myself.”
The Last Best Small Town is directed by Ellen Geer, with assistant director Kayla Ibarra. The creative team includes lighting designer Zach Moore; sound designer Grant Escandón; costume designer Beth Eslick; and prop master Emily Hucal. Kim Cameron is the production stage manager. The production is sponsored, in part, by the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.
The Last, Best Small Town will run in repertory every weekend with Julius Caesar and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, each of which open earlier in the season. The 2021 Summer Repertory Season is sponsored by the S. Mark Taper Foundation.
Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum is located at 1419 North Topanga Canyon Blvd. in Topanga. For a complete schedule of performances and to purchase tickets, call 310-455-3723 or visit www.theatricum.com.