“Eternal Equinox” At The Grove Theater Center

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Vanessa Bell (played by Gillian Doyle) prepares George Mallory (played by Justin Ellis) to pose for a painting.

Vanessa Bell (played by Gillian Doyle) prepares George Mallory (played by Justin Ellis) to pose for a painting.

“Eternal Equinox,” a new play by Joyce Sachs, explores a love triangle between two artists and a famous mountain climber. The locale is the studio home of Vanessa and Duncan, supposedly world-class artists. The space is well-appointed with props (Leonard Ogden). Taking place in 1923, the cranked up Victrola at times plays Brahms, DeBussy and Jelly Roll Morton (sound by Hunter Stephenson).
Vanessa (Gillian Doyle) is the older partner of Duncan (Christopher McFarland), who after years of living together, have reached a comfortable relationship because of Vanessa’s open mind. Duncan has yearnings for men, and Vanessa, clearly attracted to the energetic Duncan, tries to rid herself of jealousy and possessiveness.
A knock on the door reveals an old friend of Duncan’s, famed Everest explorer, George Mallory (Justin Ellis). Sexual attraction is apparent between both Duncan and Mallory, and Mallory and Vanessa. Duncan invites George to spend the night. Sachs is obviously familiar with mountaineering. Mallory is mesmerizing as he describes in detail what it’s like to climb 25,000 feet up Mt. Everest, and being caught in an avalanche. His last attempt unsuccessful, he wants to return, taking Duncan with him as his chief photographer.
Duncan is in love with Mallory, as is Vanessa. These free-loving artists would be more credible with actual art work visible, when they both decide to paint the buff body of Mallory, their muse. We get a look at the bodies of both Duncan and Mallory when they strip off their clothes for a midnight swim.

“Eternal Equinox” is at The Grove Theater (1111-B West Olive Ave., Burbank, CA). Performances are Thursday-Saturday at 8pm, and Sunday at 3pm, ending July 25, with no performance on July 4th. Tickets are $30 at door, $25 on online at www.GTC.org. Thursdays are pay what you can, and FREE to Burbank residents. For reservations call (818) 238-9998.

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