A flair for the dramatic is a looked-for quality in theater. It is nearly an essential element for the artistic temperament.
Hollis McCarthy as Vanessa Bell and Christian Pedersen as George Mallory. Photo © Eric Johanson
In “Eternal Equinox,” currently at 59E59 Theaters in a production brought over from the Grove Theater Center in California, through March 31st,the dramatic dwindles into the melodramatic.
Michael Gabriel Goodfriend as Duncan Grant and Hollis McCarthy as Vanessa Bell. Photo © Eric Johanson
The premise behind “Eternal Equinox” allows playwright Joyce Hokin Sachs to imagine a weekend encounter between George Mallory (Christian Pedersen),the Everest mountaineer, Duncan Grant (Michael Gabriel Goodfriend), the painter, set and costume designer, and Vanessa Bell (Hollis McCarthy), an artist in her own right, who was married to Clive Bell and sister to Virginia Woolf. Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell were both prominent members of the Bloomsbury Set, an influential group of writers, artists, philosophers who all worked or lived near Bloomsbury, London. (See Wikipedia for more.)
Michael Gabriel Goodfriend as Duncan Grant and Christian Pedersen as George Mallory. Photo © Eric Johanson
While professing that “there are all kinds of love,” as George tells Vanessa, Joyce Hokin Sachs paints an almost cloyingly romantic view of the decidely unconventional relationship between her and Duncan, her one-time lover. Although he fathered a child, Anjelica, with Vanessa and lived with her for most of their lives, Duncan Grant was thoroughly homosexual in his tastes and appetites. “Eternal Equinox” shows them to be cloyingly affectionate, with Vanessa possessive, jealous, and competitive in love, in seeming contradiction to the openness of their Bohemian lifestyle.
George Mallory and Duncan Grant had been lovers at one time. Mallory and Vanessa Bell shared a romantic encounter as well. Their friendship makes an interesting backdrop to the story in “Eternal Equinox.” Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of the cast, the story quickly grows tiresome.
Michael Gabriel Goodfriend as Duncan Grant and Hollis McCarthy as Vanessa Bell and Christian Pedersen as George Mallory. Photo © Eric Johanson
For a schedule of performances of “Eternal Equinox” please visit www.59e59.org.