WEEKEND: Play in Port Townsend captures lifelong friendship in letters
Diane Roberts and Don White portray two friends who share handwritten confidences in “Love Letters,” this Saturday night only at the Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. The Port Townsend performance is a benefit for the Paradise Theatre School. -- Photo by Deborah Hammond
By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News
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Lots of letters, cards and notes, it turns out, exchanged over some five decades after the two met in grade school.
They make up “Love Letters,” A.R. Gurney’s now-classic play, to arrive on stage in the hands of actors Don White and Diane Roberts this Saturday.
The 7 p.m. performance will take place at the Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall, 2333 San Juan Ave., with tickets at $25.
Proceeds from this one-time event will benefit the Paradise Theatre School, the nonprofit theater that has had to shut down for building renovation.
In this 90-minute play, Melissa Gardner and Andrew Makepeace Ladd III grow up together, although they move to different cities. Through their correspondence, through college, careers and marriages, they reveal their hearts.
“What I enjoy is the transition; going from an age of innocence,” Roberts said of Melissa.
“Her persona changes. It’s a challenge to go with the flow of this person’s life. It’s not a stagnant point in time; it’s a lifetime.”
This “Love Letters,” directed by Lawrason Driscoll, is just “good theater. It’s a moving experience,” added White.
He first saw the play in Los Angeles, not long after its premiere in 1988.
“I was really taken with it,” White said.
He and Roberts have since performed “Love Letters” at other Port Townsend venues — and his voice still catches at a particular moment toward the end.
“Love Letters” has inspired many actors: Robert Wagner, William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver, Jason Robards and Elizabeth Taylor are a few of its most famous performers.
Then, more recently, the play sparked a comedic response in “Hate Mail,” Jack Heifner’s script presented during the Key City Public Theatre Playwrights Festival last March.
“Hate Mail,” starring Scott and Heather Dudley Nollette, will come to the Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship on Nov. 23 for just one performance. Like “Love Letters,” it will be a benefit for the Paradise Theatre School.
For information about either event, phone Paradise publicist Deborah Hammond at 360-344-4331.
Last modified: October 24. 2013 7:42PM