Poor Clare presented by Echo Theater Company

The world premiere of Chiara Atik's funny modern spin on the Middle Ages opens Echo Theater Company's 2020 season.
By: Echo Theater Company
LOS ANGELES - March 6, 2020 - PRLog -- Clare is just a regular noblewoman living in medieval Italy, trying out hairstyles and waiting to get married… until a man named Francis starts ranting in the courtyard. The Echo Theater Company presents the world premiere of Poor Clare, a play by Chiara Atik about what happens when your eyes are opened to the injustice of the world around you — and you can't look away.

Set in 13th Century Italy and based on the real story of St. Clare of Assisi, Atik's powerful, modern spin on the Middle Ages couldn't be more timely. Clare and her sister are ordinary teens from an affluent family. They worry about the latest styles, and gossip about boys with their live-in help. With their mother, they do their best to be socially conscious and "give back," donating leftover food to the poor and organizing clothing drives. But Clare is intrigued when she hears that a local boy, Francis, recently stripped naked in the market square — ostensibly as a protest against poverty. "That's so dumb," Clare says at first. "Like, who is pro poverty? It's just a thing. Like just a fact. Of life."

According to Atik, "I found I was having a lot of conversations with my friends in which we would despair about everything from income inequality to homelessness to the refugee crisis and famine in Yemen. We would get ourselves all worked up over dinner, and then I'd go back to my apartment and turn on Netflix and resume my normal life. This reminded me of the story of St. Clare who became radicalized as a teenager, at 18. She didn't just feel bad about the state of the world, she had the conviction — and strength — to actually sacrifice for what she believed in."

"How do we give our lives meaning in the face of the insurmountable problems we see around us every day?," asks Dietze. "I love the way Chiara has drawn a line directly from Clare in 1211 to now, without saying it outright. She's managed to make this person, who did something most of us would consider completely unrealistic, relatable. The system that created wealth inequality then hasn't really changed. Listening to the characters, it feels like it could be me or any of my friends talking — which is really fun when it's juxtaposed with period costumes and design."

Runs March 14 - April 20, Previews March 11-13. $20 -$34, Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave in Los Angeles, CA 90039.  Phone: (310) 307-3753 or go to www.EchoTheaterCompany.com

Lucy Pollak
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