This weekend, Jan 24th and 25th – opening performances of Heartwood’s popular winter staged readings event, featuring two seasoned casts presenting “Eleemosynary” by Lee Blessing and “Molly Sweeney” by Brian Friel. 

Each moving, dramatic reading will be presented by an experienced cast of three, in the Parker Poe Theater at Lincoln Academy.  “Staged readings provide a high quality, inexpensive opportunity to experience rich literature in the hands of bright, committed actors,” notes Heartwood’s Executive Director, Joy Braley.  “Many of our audience cite staged readings as their favorite theatrical experience of the season.” 

Why?  One enthusiastic audience member explained it like this, “Staged Readings allow me the freedom to listen with all of my faculties.  The words, themselves, carry the power, the poetry and the passion.  Without the visual stimulation of a fully realized production, I can simply pay close attention to the language.”

Both pieces have been presented previously in Heartwood’s history – “Molly Sweeney” in 2004 and “Eleemosynary in 2008.”  Director Griff Braley notes, “One interesting aspect of bringing these pieces back to our audiences is that we have all matured since the original performances – actors, director and company.  In an enlightening way, we continue to discover more and more in the literature, as these authors continue to challenge us.”

“Molly Sweeney” tells the story of its title character, Molly (Dixie Weisman), a woman blind since infancy, who undergoes an operation to restore her sight. Molly's story unravels through the riveting monologues of three related characters: Molly, her husband Frank (John Strong), and her surgeon, Mr. Rice (Tom Handel).  Friel is best known for his stunning use of language and image, as he delves into human issues of love, memory, and self realization. 

“Eleemosynary” (e-li-mä-sə-ner-ē) probes into the delicate relationship of three singular women: the grandmother, Dorothea (Susan Goodwillie Stedman), who has asserted her independence through strong-willed eccentricity; her brilliant daughter, Artie (Elise Voigt), who fled the stifling domination of her mother; and Artie's daughter, Echo (Rowan Carroll-Christopher), a child of exceptional intellect and sensitivity, whom Artie abandoned to an upbringing by Dorothea. 

Fine scripts, a director committed to the author’s intent, talented actors and a little bit of theatrical lighting … all the necessary elements for a delightful evening.

Performances are sponsored by Season Sponsor, Bath Savings Institution and Show Sponsor, The Bank of Maine.  Readings will run for two weekends only in the Poe Theater, at Lincoln Academy.  Each production will be offered on a Friday night, a Saturday night and one weekend matinee.  Matinees are filling particularly quickly - reserve early! 

“Molly Sweeney” can be enjoyed on the evenings of Jan 24th or Feb 1st @ 7:00pm OR at the 1:30 matinee on Feb. 2nd.  Evening performances of “Eleemosynary” will be at 7:00pm on Jan 25th and 31st and the 1:30matinee will be offered on Feb 1st

Seating is general, though special arrangements may be made at the time of reservation.  Tickets are $12/adults and $8/students.  Early reservations are strongly suggested, by phoning 207.563.1373 or emailing   For show synopsis, venue directions and general info, visit  Produced by special permission with Dramatists Play Service, Inc.


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