The Pulitzer Prize-nominated "Love Letters" by A. R. Gurney is a charming play detailing a 50-year relationship between a man and a woman. First produced in 1988, it has over the years starred such luminaries as Jason Robards, Stockard Channing, Kathleen Turner, Christopher Walken, Swoosie Kurtz, Richard Thomas, Elaine Stritch, Cliff Robertson, Colleen Dewhurst, John Rubenstein, and many others.
The story centers on Andrew Makepeace Ladd III, played by John Beard, and his friend, Melissa Gardner, played by Lil Hunkele. Though both come from the same upper middle class background, they are exact opposites in personality. Andrew is a staid, no-nonsense, play-by-the-rules kind of guy, even at the early age of seven, while Melissa is impulsive, impetuous, lively, and unstable. Through their letters to each other, beginning with simple birthday thank-you notes and summer camp postcards and progressing to their adult lives, we learn more and more about the subtle differences in their upbringings, their different outlooks on life, and their differing personalities.
Yet despite their differences, the two are drawn to each other, keeping up a correspondence that lasts more than 50 years. Andrew graduates from Yale, marries and becomes a lawyer and Senator. Melissa is an artist who also marries and divorces, has a drinking problem, is estranged from her family, and seems always in search of herself. Over the years, their letters to each other become a source of consternation, inspiration and comfort as these two opposites gradually become aware that they seem to complete each other.
Lil Hunkele and John Beard
"Love Letters," although bittersweet, is a love story and contains mature content. "Love Letters," a Warren Players Readers Theatre production, runs Feb. 14-16 at the Struthers Library Theatre. The play will take place in the Library Room on the second floor of the theater. Tickets are $10 for adults; call 723-7231, or order online at www.strutherslibrarytheatre.com.