O riginally published on June 2, 2011, in the news section of Fuller Theological Seminary’s homepage. To read this article on fuller.edu, click here.

“Eleemosynary” Contributes to Conversation at Fuller
Student theater group’s full-length production enjoys successful run

The Fuller Company—a student-created, student-run campus theater group supported by the Brehm Center—presented its second full-length production,Eleemosynary by Lee Blessing, the last two weekends in May. A one-act play filled with humor and raw emotion,Eleemosynary examines family dynamics and the female struggle against gender bias by focusing on the relationships between three generations of women in the Wesbrook family.

After the first weekend of performances, Fuller’s Pasadena campus was buzzing with positive reviews of the actors’ stirring performances and overall professional quality of the production. Fred Davison, executive director of the Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts, urged everyone to see Eleemosynary, saying that he was “thrilled with the quality of production. There is no better theater experience or value in L.A.—it’s that good!” he stated.

In light of the play’s enthusiastic reception, The Fuller Company president and MAT student Nicole Barger said, “While we do desire to offer something to the community through our shows, we also wish to offer something to the cast and crew through the production process. We seek to create an environment,” she continued, “where all participants feel valued and enabled to do their best possible work.”

Eleemosynary director Christopher Manus agreed: “The reason I love to do theater,” he said, “is because each production holds so much promise of a community forming around a central work of art that is entirely collaborative.” Indeed, a community was formed as three women from the Los Angeles acting community starred in Eleemosynary and several Fuller students made up the production team, as well as helping with costumes, lighting, set design, and publicity. Through their collaboration, the group told a story that embodied issues relevant to the larger conversation happening on Fuller’s campus.

Eleemosynary deals with life choices, intergenerational relationships, and reconciliation,” said the play’s producer and The Fuller Company vice president Elspeth Noble, pointing out that part of the Company’s mission is to serve the Fuller community through its productions, and “primarily by producing plays that embody ideas, issues, and concepts faced in Fuller classrooms and in daily life.”

“The fact that people are still talking about the show and the characters and the messages is testament to the fact that the process continues,” commented director Manus. By its nature art needs to be part of a dialogue, he affirmed, and “I couldn’t be happier with the dialogue that Eleemosynary has contributed to.”