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ELEEMOSYNARY - WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

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photo by Cindy Cornwell In a scene from the Edwards Production “Eleemosynary” (l-r) Natalie Gudel portrays the granddaughter Echo, Beverly Rectenwald (flying) is Dorothea Wesbrook, and Emily Schwartz Keirns plays the daughter Artie Wesbrook.Eleemosynary. E-L-E-E-M-O-S-Y-N-A-R-Y. Of or relating to charity, the giving of alms. If this word is not in your dictionary then come to Edwards Productions' staging of a play by that title. Be prepared to learn something about language, life and eccentricity.

This one-act play combines the emotional effect of an abandoned child and a scorned mother with the humor of an eccentric old woman and an overachieving spelling bee champion to form one compelling narrative about three generations.

Dorothea (Bev Rectenwald) portrays an unconventional woman who gives her daughter, Artie (Emily Schwartz Keirns), a most unusual upbringing. Dorothea's dissatisfaction with her sheltered life led her to seek solace in spiritualism and idiosyncrasy. Eventually, Dorothea's odd habits and drive to succeed pushes Artie away. The two live apart for many years without speaking until Artie calls Dorothea and announces that she is pregnant. After Echo (Natalie Gudel) is born and Artie's husband dies, the two move in with Dorothea. Artie continues to feel overwhelmed by her mother, and when she is offered a job in Europe, she jumps at the chance, leaving behind Echo to be raised by her grandmother Dorothea. Dorothea sees Echo as another chance to raise a daughter, and she emphasizes the importance of education and becoming self-sufficient. Echo, the granddaughter has an innate intelligence that resonates with truth when her fascination with words wins her the trophy at the National Spelling Bee. The play is the story of three women who long for knowledge, intellectual stimulation, and freedom. It tells a story of pain, choices, reconciliation, anger, and avoidance. Mainly, Eleemosynary tells about love, both the good and the bad.

In Eleemosynary, playwright Lee Blessing, like he does in all his work, celebrates the joy of language and its intrinsic power to create storms of imagery. Director, Brent E. Blalock had seen this piece done many years ago at a theatre festival. He fell in love with it and had always hoped of directing it for himself. When meeting up with these three talented actresses, he knew that now was the time.

Performance dates are Friday, March 26th, Saturday, March 27th (doors open at 6:30pm, dinner at 7pm, and the show is at 8pm) and Sunday, March 28th (doors open at 1pm, dinner is at 1:30pm and the show is at 2:30pm) at Simpson United Methodist Church, 2501 Harrison Street in Fort Wayne. Tickets can be reserved by calling 260-496-9293. The cost of the dinner and show is $20.

Edwards Productions Inc. was started as a traveling theatre group five years ago by Brent Edward Blalock and Scott Edward Rigdon. Their purpose in starting this was to provide education and a safe atmosphere for newcomers to theatre. Today, Edwards Productions Inc. is a federal non-profit 501©3 organization with an all-volunteer staff to help promote "education as well as entertainment" in the field of theatre.

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