Prominent Newnanites Team with NTC Actors in A.R. Gurney's LOVE LETTERS
By Joan Doggrell
Newnan Theatre Company will bring "Love Letters," by A.R. Gurney, to their Mainstage venue. A finalist for the 1989 Pulitzer Prize, the stage show is known for being one of the few to use the epistolary style, where, rather than speak in a dialogue form, the actors speak to one another through their letters, notes and cards written over a period of time.
The play tells the story of the relationship between two people, troubled rich girl Melissa Gardner and the politically ambitions Andrew Makepeace Ladd, III. They are friends in childhood, and as their lives progress, they go off to different boarding schools, try their hands at romance, and go on with their lives. As in life, their paths cross again and again, and they do finally fall in love, but, again, as in life, their romance is interrupted. Though their paths separate and converge time and time again, they never lose touch with one another. They seem to find that they have a better relationship with each other in their writings than they do in person.
The production is simple - two people, seated at a table, reading from their letters. While this may seem a bit static, the play itself is full of emotion, good and bad, and it becomes a compelling story as it unfolds. "Tradition has it that dramatic works have to be memorized, blocked out to the smallest detail, and set before the audience for the telling of the story," said Tony Daniel, artistic director of Newnan Theatre Company. "True storytelling, though, comes from the voice, and the heart behind it."
There is also a special twist to this production. For the first time, Newnan Theatre Company is bringing local celebrities to the forefront of the stage. Joining actors associated with NTC are Winston Skinner, longtime reporter for the Newnan Times-Herald; Candace Boothby, director of the Newnan Chamber of Commerce; Valerie Dumas, owner and operator of Gillyweed; and John Daviston, president and CEO of McKoon Funeral Home. Each of these local 'celebrities' will pair off with an actor from NTC to present the show for two nights.
"I have always been a fan of Newnan Theatre Company," Skinner said. "They always do such quality productions. When they asked me to be a part of one, how could I possibly have said 'no'?"
Dumas admitted she was a bit nervous when first asked to be a part of this show. "But it's always been something on my bucket list, to do a play in front of an audience," she said, laughing. "And, with this one, I don't have to panic about learning lines perfectly!"
"When Tony approached me about being a part of this show, I was astounded I was even considered for the part," said Daviston. "Tony and I have known one another for years, but the one thing we never talked about was theatre. And now, we are, in a way, doing a show together. I am honored they thought of me."
Candace Boothby, too, was a bit taken aback by the offer. "I am so excited to be a part of this," she said. "People may know me from my work with the Chamber, but now, I can add 'performer' to my resume."
The show opens on Thursday, February 20 and runs through March 2. Tickets are on sale now, and can be purchased through the NTC website, www.newnantheatre.org, or via phone by calling 770.683.6282.
Performance times and ticket prices are as follows:
February 20, 8:00 pm, $7.00 for all
February 21, 8:00 pm, $8 for children, $12 for students and seniors, $14 for adults
February 22, 8:00 pm, $8 for children, $12 for students and seniors, $14 for adults
February 23, 3:00 pm and 8:00 pm, $8 for children, $12 for students and seniors, $14 for adults
February 27, 8:00 pm, $7.00 for all
February 28, 8:00 pm, $8 for children, $12 for students and seniors, $14 for adults
March 1, 8:00 pm, $8 for children, $12 for students and seniors, $14 for adults
March 2, 3:00 pm and 8:00 pm, $8 for children, $12 for students and seniors, $14 for adults