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ENC Theater Department to present Eleemosynary

Published: January 25, 2010

Eastern Nazarene College’s Communication and Theatre Arts Department will present the play, Eleemosynary, at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 11-13 at the Cove Fine Arts Center on the college’s main campus at 23 E. Elm Ave., Quincy.

Directed by ENC alumna Stefanie DeLeo, Eleemosynary ? which means “dependent upon or supported by charity” ? examines the family ties and tensions that exist among three generations of women: grandmother, daughter and granddaughter. Written by Lee Blessing, the play received the 1997 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for its insightful exploration of family relationships.

Eleemosynary is an intergenerational play about three women coping with brilliance, eccentricity, the question of normalcy and the universal desire to make a connection,” DeLeo said. “I think this story will resonate with audiences, because our relationship with our parents so intimately influences who we are, whether it’s the strength of that relationship or the lack of it.”

Eleemosynary’s focus on family dynamics particularly appealed to DeLeo, she said, because of her recent service abroad with the Peace Corps.

“I’ve been living in South Africa for two-and-a-half years, and I noticed that family units and structures are so differently orchestrated there for a variety of cultural and economic reasons,” she said. “I encountered many orphans who had never met their parents due to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and yet the majority of those kids were still deeply influenced by their (family) relationship, even though it wasn’t there in the flesh. So, the appeal for me of this play is how universal the themes are that run through the story line.”

A 2004 ENC graduate, DeLeo received the Moss Hart Award (College Division) from the New England Theatre Conference for her senior directing project, The Diary of Anne Frank. She continued her studies at New York University, earning a Master’s Degree in Educational Theatre. In addition to serving in the Peace Corps, she has worked as a teacher, director and playwright, with two of her plays being produced in New York.

Eastern Nazarene College’s production of Eleemosynary stars ENC students Allison Tucker, Brittany Garofollo and Kayla Peterson. Due to the play’s intimate “black box” staging, seating for Eleemosynary is limited to 100 attendees per performance. Tickets are $7 and are available by calling the ENC box office at 617-745-3715.

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