Photo by Don Kellogg

Monday, March 31, 2008

Vita and Virginia

A truly entertaining and historically educational evening. The play, by Eileen Atkins, is presented as a reading - since the basis for the entire play is the correspondence that was exchanged over 20 years starting in the 1920's between Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf.

The two revealed their relationship over the course of the evening - the love of their art, their passions, as well as their love of each other. Given the time period, it was not at all acceptable to be "out" so they expressed their emotions and love and relationship mostly via their written correspondence. Their face-to-face visits were few and far between.

At this performance (the reason I attended) the role of Virginia Woolf, normally played by Kathleen Chalfant, was performed by the delightful Frances Sternhagen (i'm a big fan!). The role of Vita is played, quite eloquently by Patricia Elliott.

The reading format made sense. The time, a bit long, (over 2 hours in two acts), never felt dull despite the lack of "action" on stage. The two actresses lock you into their story and don't let you go until it ends - taking you on Virginia's wild emotional journey as well as Vita's world-wide travels with her ambassador husband. Virginia is only supposed to be 10 years older than Vita, so the visual disparity in ages between Frances and Patricia seemed odd, but it was dwarfed by the fine interpretation and performances.

Truly a treat at the Zipper Theatre (read - DUMP)!