The Pattern at Pendarvis
A few days ago we reviewed Interstate at Theatre Row, in which a trans poet and a lesbian musician left the safe haven of “the islands” (Manhattan and Long) to tour the uncertainty of “mainland America” about a decade ago.
Tonight, we headed downtown to Here for The Pattern at Pendarvis, which takes us again to an LGBTQ experience in middle
Pattern, you see, is playwright Dean Gray's best guess about what life was like for Edgar Hellum (Lawrence Merritt) and Robert Neal, a gay couple who became famous around the world for restoring houses in Mineral Point, an old town where Cornish miners hand-built stone dwellings in the style they were familiar with back home.
Shunned by local residents who appreciated their restoration efforts but not their living arrangement, Edgar and Bob welcomed guests from far away but not from down the road.
In Pattern, author Richard Farnsworth (Gregory Jensen) interviews Edgar late in his life (in 1997) for a book he's developing about restoration and other positive contributions gay men have made to society.
Believe it or not, it's a more exciting story than it sounds. That's because the interview is being monitored by Edgar's friend Norm (David Murray Jaffe), an elderly straight man with old-fashioned values who interjects every time Rich's questions start to turn away from remodeling toward the relationship between Edgar and his
Concerned, it seems, about the impact such a story might have on Edgar's standing in the community and the preservation society that's taken over the houses (to operate as a museum about the area's mining history), Norm does everything he can to derail the story that Rich is trying to tell.
On a simple but handsome set (Daniel Ettinger) supplemented by projections of images from Edgar's past (Tomas del Valle, Ben Elling, Hugo Fowler and Cassidy Pearsall), the trio dances around a subject that, in mainland America in the 90's, was still very much taboo.
Under the direction of Joseph Megel, the cast had us believing that what we were seeing really did happen as recently as twenty years ago, when a researcher named
The Pattern at Pendarvis runs through August 1st at Here. Give it a shot, then come back to Opplaud™ and let us know what you think of this production.
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