‘Love Letters’ sends a heartwarming, nostalgic message
DILLON – A.R. Gurney’s “Love Letters” portrays the lost art of letter writing, where the sender bestows a piece of himself the recipient can either cherish or tear up.The Lake Dillon Theatre presents the story of the passionate, stormy and supportive relationship of Andy and Melissa, two people who correspond mostly through letters for about 45 years – from age 7 until one of them dies.It begins with an invitation to a birthday party and thank you notes mothers insist they write. The kids send each other Valentines, say “I like you” and innocently draw nude pictures.
Melissa, a rich, dramatic youngster with a drunken mother and a series of step-fathers, deplores writing, yet her connection to Andy compels her to write.At times, the letters are one liners, and at other times they are long expositions about rowing. Sometimes one pulls away, refusing to write, while the other continues to send letters. Melissa even has been known to tear up Andy’s letter and send it back to him.When Andy and Melissa meet in college after years of writing, they don’t click. The experience begs the questions: Do letters show who the real person is more or less, and how do people bridge the gap between sharing in person or from afar?In the second act, Melissa continues to express dangerous, risky feelings, while Andy becomes a more conservative lawyer. The story portrays their marriages and ensuing difficulties and liaisons.
Rather than act out the drama, “Love Letters” calls for a man and a woman sitting next to each other – not looking at one another – reading their letters aloud. Though that may sound dull, the words and stories leap off the page; along with the lost art of letter writing, “Love Letters” captures the lost art of storytelling.Though Gurney wrote the script in the 1980s, his word choice transports audiences back to simpler times of the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s; Andy asks if she’s “sore at” him, and each uses the word “pill,” among other terms.Three different couples read the letters aloud throughout the weekend. Kelly and Matt Renoux read from a younger perspective Friday night, while Gary and Kelly Ketzenbarger read Saturday and Lennie Singer and Bob Davis read Sunday.”It should be interesting to see the differences in the different ages of actors reading – the life experience they bring to it,” said Chris Alleman, artistic director.
In the end, “Love Letters” warms the heart and has a tendency to make eyes water. It is the story of an enduring relationship, which is ever-present throughout Andy’s and Melissa’s lives.”Love Letters” only runs this weekend, at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 6:30 p.m. Sunday. For tickets, call (970) 513-9386.Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 245, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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