Family. It’s complicated. How is it we can’t live with the ones we love the most? Playwright Lee Blessing explores this and much more in his drama “Eleemosynary,” playing March 6-7 and 13-14 at Wytheville Community College. Like most parents, Dorothea (played by Frances Moore) wants only what’s best for her daughter Artie (Tina Edwards) who, in turn, wants what’s best for her daughter Echo (Jessie Moore). But what is “best”? As the story unfolds, all three women grapple with how to relate to each other.
“I love this show,” says director Janice Pryor, “and the further we get into rehearsals, exploring the relationships of this dysfunctional family, the more fascinated I am. We’ve all been children or parents,” she adds, and I think our audiences will identify with these actors as they struggle with the family unit.”
As always, no show is complete without lots of backstage work. “Lighting,” says co-director Joe Burnett, “will play a crucial role in this production.” He and lighting technician Coyote Edwards have spent countless hours working out how best to intensify the stage actions with available lights.
Roger Dean Grubb has designed and built the set and properties for the show. “I frequently worry that some element of the stage set or the props will be impossible to do,” confesses Pryor, “but Roger always comes through for us. I thought one of the props this time might present a problem, but, as usual, I was happily wrong.” She can’t reveal what that prop is because she doesn’t want to “spoil the effect.” Other behind the scenes work is being handled by costume coordinator Tina Edwards and box office manager Denita Burnett.
As for the title of the show, Pryor says not to stress if you have never heard of “eleemosynary” as all will become clear in the play. “It’s a spelling bee word, basically meaning ‘charitable,’” says Pryor. “And,” she laughs, “none of us knew what it meant either until we started working on this show.”
“Eleemosynary” plays March 6-7 and 13-14 at 7:00 pm each evening in Snyder Auditorium on the WCC Wytheville Campus. Tickets are $8 for general admission, $7 for senior citizens and students, and free for WCC students with IDs. Also, $1 discount cards are available at some local businesses, organizations, and agencies. The box office opens thirty minutes before each performance. For additional information or questions about this performance, please check the WCC Theatre Facebook page.