Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Bloomsbury Group on the "Eternal Equinox"

Eternal Equinox
Meet a few members of The Bloomsbury Group - a tight knit group of English intellectuals: Virgina Woolf (writer), Vanessa Bell (artist and Virginia's sister), John Maynard Keynes (economist), Clive Bell (art critic/writer), Duncan Grant (artist), EM Forester (writer) and Lytton Strachey (writer). 

Now, let's see if I can get this straight. Virgina was married to Leonard Woolf and had lesbian affair with Vita Sackville West, who was married to diplomat Harold Nicholson. Vanessa was married to Clive Bell and had affair with artist Roger Fry and then later fell in love and had a child with gay artist Duncan Grant, who had an affair with John Keynes among others. John Keynes initially had gay affairs but then got married and settled down with a Russian ballerina. Lytton, who was gay, had a relationship with painter Dora Carrington, who shot and killed herself due a broken heart after his death. She was married to Ralph Partridge.

The small Bloomsbury Group produced an arsenal of intellectual ideas, art and literary works. But almost equally fascinating is the unheard of sexual freedom the group exercised and enjoyed in early 1900s England. Even by today's standard, this is surprising.

Now how does this all relate to the theater. Well, if you would like to observe a little bit of the dynamics of The Bloomsbury Group, now is a good time to do so. Currently playing on the NYC stage at 59E59 Theaters is Joyce Hokin Sach's Eternal Equinox which imagines an encounter between companions Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant and Everest mountaineer visitor George Mallory in the fall of 1923. All I will say is - art will be made; affairs will be had.

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