Being that we're in the midst of the annual national spelling bee competition, it's only fitting that Aurora Fox Theatre would present Eleemosynary, since winning the spelling championship is one among the many intellectual feats performed by the three women about whom this play is crafted. But the heart of the story is not about spelling or even the words themselves, it is about the relationships between these three generations of women—a young woman, her mother, and her mother's mother.

Elgin Kelley, Erica Sarzin-Borillo, and Kathy Kautz
Left to right, Elgin Kelley,
Erica Sarzin-Borillo
and Kathy Kautz
Dorothea, the grand dame of the bunch, is an intellectual and a dreamer, a volatile combination of traits that leads her to such experiments as trying to teach her daughter, Artie, to fly. Not only does this embarrass Artie, not to mention scare her half to death, but it is the beginning of a permanent mistrust between the two. So, Artie follows her own path, achieving intellectual heights every bit as refined as her mother's. Finally, Artie and her own daughter, Echo, another accomplished thinker, suffer their own schism.

Each of these three women, grandmother, mother, and daughter, strong hearts all, suffers to connect with the other two. Erica Sarzin-Borrillo's Dorothea, a larger than life eccentric, overwhelms her daughter with passion for the surreal. Kathy Kautz's Artie reels between personal joys and her suffocating memories of Dorothea's relentless presence. But it is Elgin Kelley's Echo, rejected by her mother and raised and driven by her grandmother that provides the intellect, heart, and eleemosynary glue that connects the circle.

Like Wendy Wasserstein's The Sisters Rosensweig and Edward Albee's Three Tall Women, Lee Blessing's Eleemosynary provides a tremendous opportunity to explore women's relationships with their generational counterparts, and in the case of this production, it's a promise fulfilled. The Aurora Fox Theatre Company's production of Eleemosynary, directed by Christopher Willard, runs through March 31st. 303-361-2910.


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