When: Sundays, 2 p.m. and Thursdays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Feb. 21 2016
A spelling bee plays a large role in Lee Blessing's play Eleemosynary, with explains the arcane title. The definition of "eleemosynary" is "an act of charity," and that's just what the three generations of women in the play need. Artemis is estranged from both her daughter, Echo, and her mother, Dorothea. She left Echo in Dorothea's care so she could pursue her scientific studies, but also so she could get away from her domineering mother. To her surprise, Echo and Dorothea get along quite well in her absence. Echo enjoys her grandmother's practiced eccentricity, and Dorothea encourages her precocious granddaughter to learn everything and excel in everything she does. When Dorothea falls ill, Artemis and Echo must come to some sort of rapprochement. But instead of discussing how to do that, they always end up talking about the national spelling bee that Echo plans to win. In order for charity to work, you need both a generous giver and a generous receiver — something the definition of eleemosynary can't explain. Mustard Seed Theatre continues its season with Eleemosynary. Performances take place at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday (February 5 through 21) at Fontbonne University's Fine Arts Theatre (6800 Wydown Boulevard; 314-719-8060 or www.mustardseedtheatre.com). Tickets are $25 to $30.