Chagrin Valley Little Theatre

Eleemosynaryby Lee Blessing


Performance Dates & Tickets

August 11 - 25, 2017
Friday & Saturday nights at 8 PM
Sunday, August 20 at 2 PM
$12 all seats
performed at CVLT's River Street Playhouse
56 River Street, west of the main CVLT building
Call 440-247-8955 (Mon-Sat, 1-6 PM)


About the Play

el·ee·mos·y·nar·y: (adjective) relating to or dependent on charity; charitable.



Content Notices
  • Strong language
  • Adult themes

Eleemosynary focuses on the lives of three Wesbrook women: seventy-five-year-old Dorothea; her middle-aged daughter, Artie; and Artie's sixteen-year-old daughter, Echo. Dorothea, an admitted New Age eccentric, has complicated the lives of the two other Wesbrook women by imposing her thwarted dreams on them, which has alienated Artie not only from Dorothea but from Echo as well. As the play begins, Echo is caring for Dorothea, who has just had a stroke. During the course of the play, Echo tries to bring the three women together. Blessing presents fragmented vignettes of the lives of the three women as they struggle to define themselves both as individuals and as part of a family unit. In this poignant and mature study of familial relationships, Blessing highlights the human need for connection and forgiveness.

Lee Blessing often focuses on family dynamics in his plays. Eleemosynary, one of his most acclaimed works, is no exception. The play was first performed in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1985 and published by the Dramatists Play Service in 1987; it forms part of the collection Four Plays, published by Heinemann in 1991. Eleemosynary won the prestigious Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award in 1997 for its penetrating study of the interactions among three members of the Wesbrook family. In his examination of their relationships with one another, Blessing illustrates the tensions that can stress a family to its breaking point.

CVLT's River Street Playhouse is the venerable non-profit's intimate 62-seat "black box" stage, offering audiences an up-close seat for the withering dialog and emotional fireworks on stage. WHO'S AFRAID was seen at CVLT in the same space thirty-four years ago. The script contains very strong language and adult themes and is therefore not recommended for sensitive audiences or those under age sixteen.

The River Street Playhouse is located at 56 River Street, just west of the main CVLT building in downtown Chagrin Falls. Seating and parking are limited, and early reservations and arrival are recommended.