BWW Review: North Carolina Theatre's LOVE LETTERS
Love Letters centers on two characters, Melissa Gardner & Andrew Makepeace Ladd III, as they sit at tables side by side to read the notes, letters and cards they've wrote to each other over the course of 50 years. Within the letters, the two characters discuss their hopes and ambitions, dreams and disappointments, victories and defeats that have passed between them throughout their separated lives.
The play originally debuted off-Broadway on March 27th, 1989 with John Rubinstein & Kathleen Turner in the starring roles. Since then, Love Letters has been frequently performed all over the world, and has even attracted some big name actors as it requires little preparation and lines not to be memorized. It was also adapted into a television movie for ABC in 1999 starring Steven Weber & Laura Linney.
In this production, director Guy Stroman stages it with only two tables placed next to each other, and nothing else. While it may not sound like much, Stroman lets an exciting pair of well-matched leads played by Sandy Duncan & Ira David Wood (iii) do all the work as they read their letters out loud to one another. The way playwright, A.R. Gurney structured his play was that as the two characters read their letters, we learn more about them throughout the night. The backdrop behind the characters often change colors throughout the show to reflect on the different state of emotions the they both go through.
Overall, Love Letters is a play that manages to take turns at being both funny and heartfelt. Though as you're watching the plot unfold, it is important to keep your attention on both leads because you might just miss something. This production is currently running at the A.J. Fletcher Opera Theatre through January 21st.
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