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Echo Theater Company celebrates 25 years with virtual
celebration July 1, return to live 4-play season in Sept
LOS ANGELES (June 15, 2021) — A virtual 25th Birthday Celebration, featuring 25 monologues by 25 playwrights including Boni B. Alvarez, Bekah Brunstetter, Jessica Goldberg, Hilly Hicks Jr., David Ives, David Lindsay–Abaire and Sarah Ruhl, performed by actors such as Enrico Colantoni, Marin Hinkle, Brent Jennings, Megan Ketch, Hamish Linklater and James Tupper, will take place on Thursday, July 1 at 7:30 p.m. ET / 10:30 p.m. ET. The event will kick off the Echo Theater Company’s live, in-person 2021-22 season of new plays at Atwater Village Theatre running Sept. 11, 2021 through the end of August. 2022.
Founded in 1997, the Echo Theater Company has gained a reputation for producing and developing exciting new work. Under the artistic leadership of Chris Fields, the company has championed playwrights for a quarter century, producing and commissioning numerous world premieres and introducing Los Angeles to playwrights David Lindsay-Abaire, Adam Rapp and Sarah Ruhl among others.
The 2021-22 season continues in the same vein, offering three galvanizing premieres by acclaimed playwrights on the forefront of American theater (each originally scheduled for 2020 but canceled by the pandemic) — plus an additional, commissioned world premiere that will be a hybrid live/online interactive experience, a new direction inspired by endeavors created out of necessity over the past year that the Echo will continue to explore.
The season will open on Sept. 11 with the world premiere of Poor Clare by Chiara Atik, directed by Alana Dietze. A very funny modern spin on the Middle Ages that couldn’t feel more timely. 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. Based on the real story of St Clare of Assisi, a play about what happens when your eyes are opened to the injustice of the world around you, and you can’t look away. (Sept. 11 – Oct. 18: Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 4 p.m.; Mondays at 8 p.m.; previews begin Sept. 8)
Opening Sept. 23, the world premiere of Ascension. Ahmed Best directs the Echo-commissioned world premiere of Darryl G. Watson’s live theater/online hybrid, an interactive, sci-fi mystery-thriller that strikes at the heart of our assumptions about faith, memory and reality. Rebel suffers from amnesia. She’s trapped inside a long, narrow box. Nobody knows she’s in there… nobody but you. For some strange reason, your mind and her mind are psychically linked, and only you can help her escape. (Sept. 23 – Oct. 28: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m.; previews Sept. 21 and Sept. 22)
Opening March 12, 2022, the Los Angeles premiere of Hooded, or Being Black for Dummies by Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm will also be directed by Ahmed Best. Marquis and Tru are both 14-year-old black boys, but they exist in two totally different worlds. Marquis is a book smart prep-schooler living in the affluent suburb of Achievement Heights; while Tru is a street savvy kid from deep within the inner city of Baltimore. Their worlds overlap one day in a holding cell. Tru decides that Marquis has lost his “blackness” and pens a how-to manual entitled “Being Black for Dummies”. He assumes the role of professor, but Marquis proves to be a reluctant pupil. They butt heads, debate, wrestle and ultimately prove that Nietzsche and 2pac were basically saying the same thing. (March 12 – April 18: Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 4 p.m.; Mondays at 8 p.m.; previews begin March 9)
Finally, July 16, 2022 will see the West Coast premiere of Continuity by Bess Wohl, directed by Lindsay Allbaugh. On a soundstage in a desert in New Mexico meant to look like a melting ice sheet in Greenland, things are running way behind schedule. As over-qualified-but-under-recognized director Maria tries to salvage her big-budget thriller about climate change and eco-terrorism, her cast and screenwriter waste precious minutes of daylight with behind-the-scenes drama. Bess Wohl’s startlingly funny new play examines what is worth saving and what isn’t — especially when we’re facing the end of the world. (July 16 – Aug. 22: Fridays and Saturdays at
“It’s so exciting to be back in action with four innovative plays that boldly tackle current issues,” says Fields. “Poor Clare is about the wealth gap and homelessness; Hooded is about racial identity; Continuity tackles the climate crisis and the media; and Ascension is about the end of the world as social media and digital technology become a substitute for life.”
The Echo has won countless Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle, Ovation, LA Weekly and Stage Raw awards, and is frequently cited on end-of-the-year “Best of Lists” including by the Los Angeles Times, LA Observed and NPR affiliate KCRW 89.9 FM, among others. The company was anointed “Best Bet for Ballsy Original Plays” by the LA Weekly and was a recipient of a “Kilroy Cake Drop” to honor its efforts to produce women and trans writers. KCRW declared that “Echo Theater Company is on a fierce journey,” and Los Angeles Times theater critic Charles McNulty wrote, “Artistic directors of theaters of all sizes would be wise to follow the [lead] of the Echo’s Chris Fields, who [is] building audience communities eager for the challenge of path-breaking plays.”
All performances take place at Atwater Village Theatre, located at 3269 Casitas Ave. in Los Angeles.
For more information about the Echo Theater Company, visit EchoTheaterCompany.com.
To purchase tickets to the virtual birthday celebration on July 1, go to EchoTheaterCompany.com/Benefit-Celebrations.