The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, a theater company nestled into a hillside in Topanga, performs a variety of plays each summer on its outdoor stage. The amphitheater, inspired by Shakespeare’s Old Globe Theatre, provides 299 seats for four big shows – Bram Stoker’s “Dracula,” “Blithe Spirit,” “The Tempest” and the Theatricum’s perennial favorite, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Performed under a “leafy bower,” Topanga provides an ideal setting for “Midsummer,” a love story involving fairies in the forest. Being in an actual outdoor setting, surrounded by trees and flowers adds something special to the play and helps transport the audience into the enchanted alternate universe.

After a delicious dinner al fresco involving ahi tuna and raspberry pie in the stunning setting of Froggy’s located slightly down the road, I was delighted to find myself at the equally stunning Theatricum Botanicum for the production of “Blithe Spirit.”

Written by Noel Coward, the play, and later a film, centers on a relatively happy marriage and the ghost that attempts to wreck it. Ellen Geer (daughter of the founder) plays the medium that conjures the apparition, with Heidi Helen Davis directing. Melora Marshall and Mark Bramhall play the married couple while Abby Craden has fun with the role of the spirit.

The rustic hillside set provides an eerie backdrop for “Blithe Spirit.” One of my favorite parts was watching the ghost, Elvira, drift down the path toward the stage. Truly spooky, the effect, as well as others that came later, made the whole production feel quite haunted.

Theatricum Botanicum does a great job of picking plays and stories that exploit the naturally terrific setting and letting it become, almost, a character in the drama. If you get there a bit early, walk the grounds and/or bring a picnic dinner.

Snacks and beverages are sold at The Hamlet Hut and Gardens. You’ll feel as if you had a miniature vacation.

Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum is located at 1419 North Topanga Canyon Blvd. Tickets: $20, $25; $15, $18 for students. For more information, call (310) 455-2322 or visit