Art isn't easy," as Sondheim wrote, but neither is being married to an art critic. The Countess, Gregory Murphy's drama of love and hate in the Victorian art world, arrives at San Diego's Globe Theatres March 28 for a run through May 6. Brendon Fox (Private Eyes) directs.
Reknowned art critic John Ruskin was the last word in the painting world with his specific beliefs about ideal beauty. Unfortunately, his wife Effie (nicknamed "The Countess") didn't live up to them, so he constantly belittled her. When Ruskin requests that pre-Raphelite artist John Everett Millais paint him on vacation in Scotland with Effie, he brings his wife in contact with a man who is passionately aware of the beauty her husband cannot see. Their subsequent affair shocks Victorian London's art world. The Countess was a hit Off-Broadway, running 634 performances.
Murphy is the author of one novel "William Dysart," set in 1912 New York. He is currently at work on his second play, a domestic comedy.
Emma Roberts stars as Euphemia "Effie" Chalmers with Andrew Borba as Ruskin and Gabriel Olds as Millais. Also in the cast are Patricia Fraser (Margaret Ruskin), Alan Oppenheimer (John James Ruskin) and Nance Williamson (Lady Elizabeth Eastlake).
Designing The Countess are David Ledsinger (sets), Ron Vodicka (lighting), Ann Hould-Ward (costumes) and Paul Peterson (sound). Raul Moncada is the stage manager. Tickets are $25-$42. The Globe Theatres are located in Balboa Park. For reservations, call (619) 239 2255. The Globe Theatres are on the web at http://www.theglobetheatres.org.
-- By Christine Ehren