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Terrence McNally’s ‘A Perfect Ganesh’ seeks truth and compassion at Theatricum

Terrence McNally’s ‘A Perfect Ganesh’ seeks truth and compassion at Theatricum 

Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum continues its 50th anniversary repertory season with A Perfect Ganesh, the magical, poetic, Pulitzer Prize nominated play by Tony Award-winning playwright Terrence McNally. Directed by Mary Jo DuPrey, the play will open  Saturday, July 15,on Theatricum’s beautiful outdoor stage in Topanga, where performances continue through October 7.

McNally’s play takes us from teeming Mumbai to the Chittaurgahr Pass, Jodhpur, the Ganges, the burning ghats of Varanasi and the Taj Mahal, as two upper-middle class friends from Connecticut (Ellen Geer and Melora Marshall) travel to India with heavy baggage in tow, reeling from loss and personal demons. Manifest in their fellow travelers (all played by Rajiv Shah), the benevolent, elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesha (Mueen Jahan) is everyone and everywhere. Fluid in his power to assume any guise, at peace with all things, Ganesha — god of wisdom, prudence, acceptance, love and “remover of obstacles” — is the spiritual center around which the play spins, drawing upon the tragic and the comic, the beautiful and the deplorable, until a breathtaking release arrives for both women at his hands.

“Their journey is at once geographical and deeply internal as they wrestle with their failings as wives, mothers and friends,” explains DuPrey. “Through their journey, McNally incriminates the unforgiving prejudices, superficial values, emotional denials and cultural superiorities embedded in contemporary American culture that can lead to personal destruction if not tempered with insight, searing truth and compassion…” 

A Perfect Ganesh premiered at the Manhattan Theatre Club in 1993. Touching as it does on the nature of female friendship, racism, homophobia, trauma and loss, and our collective search for wholeness and authenticity in a chaotic world, it was a finalist for the 1994 Pulitzer Prize.

A Perfect Ganesh will run in repertory every weekend with Shakespeare’s Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Queen Margaret’s Version of Shakespeare’s War of the Roses, each of which open earlier in the season. Unlike most theaters in the L.A. area that stage continuous runs of a single play, Theatricum will perform all four plays in repertory, making it possible to see them all in one single summer weekend.

For more information and to purchase tickets, call (310) 455-3723 or visit

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