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Department of Theatre and Dance

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Eleemosynary | November 15-18, 2018

The University of SC Department of Theatre and Dance will present Eleemosynary by Lee Blessing, November 15-18 at The Center for Performance Experiment.

Eleemosynary (pronounced eh-luh-mah’-sehn-air-ee) examines the subtle and often perilous relationship between three remarkable women: a grandmother, Dorothea, who has sought to assert her independence through strong-willed eccentricity; her brilliant daughter, Artie, who has fled the stifling domination of her mother; and Artie's daughter, Echo, a child of exceptional intellect whom Artie has abandoned to an upbringing by Dorothea.  “…an intriguing journey through the psyches of three exceptional women, whose lifelong interdependence is both their curse and their salvation” – Variety.

“It’s a funny and touching look at how mothers and daughters impact each other, even when they're not trying,” says director Libby Hawkins, a third-year graduate acting student.  “Blessing has created three really distinct, rich characters that have so much going on. They need each other so much, but sometimes they can't express it, or they say it the wrong way.”

Hawkins says it was partly the richness of Blessing’s characters which drew her to the play.  “I found myself really connecting to each woman's search for who she is and what she needs, both inside and outside of her family,” she says.

“I also really love the structure of the play. There's a lot of direct address, where the actors talk straight to the audience. I'm really excited to play with how each of the actors uses the audience to tell their part of the story.”  Cast in the production are Lilly Heidari as Dorothea, Susan Swavely as Artie, and Payton Smith as Echo.  

Hawkins says Blessing’s story gets to the heart of what it means to be “family.”

“This play is so much about being brave: in making hard choices, in taking responsibility for what you've done, and in being vulnerable about what you need. Being present in a family takes bravery sometimes, and I'm so curious to see how the audience responds to that struggle between these characters.” 

Show times are 8pm nightly.  Tickets are $10 and available online or at the door.  The Center for Performance Experiment is located at 718 Devine St., between Huger and Gadsden Streets, near the Colonial Life Arena.  Patrons are advised to arrive early, as seating is limited.

For more information about Eleemosynary or the theatre program at the University of South Carolina, contact Kevin Bush via email at or by phone at 803-777-9353.



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