“Poor Lear” Coming to Benedictine College's Mabee Theatre

"Poor Lear" Coming to Benedictine College's Mabee Theatre

One-Man Show Derived from Shakespeare’s "King Lear"

Published: Monday, March 7, 2016

Benedictine College is pleased to present Poor Lear, Alan Tilson's one-man, one-hour contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare's King Lear, on Saturday, March 19, with showings at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. in the Mabee Theatre on the Atchison campus. The show features Lear as a homeless veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder and comes in partnership with Trinity Episcopal Church in Atchison. Suggested donation is $10 - $30. All proceeds will go to benefit Loaves & Fishes Outreach, a multi-denominational ministry which provides a Saturday meal to the needy. The event is open to the public.

Tilson has performed with The Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre, Missouri/Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, Theatre for Young America, the New Theatre and The Living Room. Regionally he has performed with the Oregon and Colorado Shakespeare Festivals, the Minnesota Shakespeare Company, and with the Black Hills Playhouse. Poor Lear has been performed in Kansas City, Louisville, New York and Seaside, Fla.

The show presents Lear as a homeless man in a modern setting, with Tilson enacting all the roles in the tragic story of a king who divides his wealth among three daughters and is thrown out of doors to face the elements and come to terms with his own mortality. The decision to do King Lear in a new format developed slowly. Tilson said he had been a fan of King Lear, the story line, and the language. As such, he studied, focused, memorized, and performed many parts of the play over the years.

“I edited the script, cutting the sub-plots almost completely out and keeping the main characters of Lear, the three daughters and the Fool,” Tilson said.

Tilson needed to change the setting to bring the piece a new freshness and relevance and the character and setting came to him on one of his daily walks along Kansas City’s Brush Creek, he said.

Poor Lear demonstrates the plight of homeless people, an ongoing tragedy for many. As such, Tilson’s show comes with information about the homeless and proceeds benefit the needy.

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas.  The school is proud to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report as well as one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide.  It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging.  It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.