“Gurney’s ‘Love Letters’ Like You’ve Never Seen it Before” at Flying Muskrats by Brennan Jones

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If you’ve experienced A.R. Gurney’s Love Letters, you might be skeptical. If you haven’t, here’s a crash course: Love Letters tells the story of Andy Ladd and Melissa Gardener, and their 50+ year love affair. Their connection is forged almost entirely through letters, and spans from the 1930s to the late 1980s.

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As most often produced, two actors sit at two desks, two chairs, behind two music stands (you get the idea, right?) and read the letters from a manuscript in front of them. It’s a glorified, albeit beautifully written, staged reading. Two (old) actors, two (old) desks, and two hundred (old) letters. Boring, right?

Wrong.

Leanne G. O’Neill, the driving force behind our interpretation of Gurney’s work, encouraged us to do away with all we thought we knew about Love Letters. We decided to shake things up: add movement and make the show more visually appealing. We decided to cast multiple actors to play different age ranges – not just two older actors to play 5-60 years old. We decided to give this play new life –  through our props, direction, casting, and most importantly, we wanted to show that Love Letters is truly timeless. So why be attached to the late 20th century, or any period at all for that matter?

That’s the magic of Gurney’s piece – from the dawn of the written word, Love Letters has been relatable. It just wasn’t written until twenty years ago. Gurney’s core message of the power of writing, and how it can connect us, endures.

The Muskrats chose Love Letters to perform because of its beauty in capturing the reality of romance- not as a fairy tale, but as a bittersweet series of missed connections. It touched everyone that had read it or seen it; they could immediately think of a person or an experience of which Love Letters brought them fond memories. It wasn’t until our first production meeting that we realized that we could do something unique with this impactful piece.

If you’ve seen Love Letters once, if you’ve seen it 1000 times- you’ve never seen it like this.

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Love Letters runs for a limited engagement at the North Bethesda United Methodist Church this Valentine’s Day weekend.

Dates: February 13, 14, 15 at 7:30 pm, with a special matinee on Feb 15 at 2:00 pm. Tickets: $10 at the door and $9 online. 

You can also get 2 tickets for $16 on Valentines Day only!

For more information, check out our website.