Reviewed by Amalisha HuEck

At Theatre 68 in NOHO, Executive Producer & Voiceover Legend Grey DeLisle presents  'LOVE LETTERS'.    Written by A.R. Gurney, who summons the core of the play with, 'Sometimes it takes a lifetime to spell out love.'   How ironic and how very true.

What a play!  It truly does not need anything, but those beautiful two actors who, as a note about the play the author A.R.Gurney beautifully expressed, "'This is a play, or rather a sort of play, which needs no special set and no memorization of lines. It is designed simply to be read aloud by an actor and an actress, sitting side by side, in front of a group of people of any size.' Like the old-time radio plays of Andy and Melissa's youth, Love Letters is a piece meant to be heard with the ears as well as simply seen with the eyes - and mostly, as with all love letters, to be felt in the heart."

Starring April Steward (Melissa Gardner) and Courtney R. Hall (Andrew Makepeace Ladd III) this production represents that old saying, 'When You Cast a Play Well, All is Well and Easy'.  What a wonderful job both actors did. Their varied emotional states over the years were so fully expressed, with such a deep connection to the characters.      

In the plot, those two childhood friends from the 4th grade until 'the death it parted them', for over 40 years,  kept in touch through 'Love Letters'.   He loves to write, but she never enjoyed writing. Yet, their attraction to each other kept them going. They started with birthday party thank notes and postcards from the summer camps. In the beginning, they are both putting attention to 'finding feelings' for each other. In that, feeling nostalgic often finds them. They go back and forth with the events in their lives until she marries someone and gets two girls and he finds that special person and gets two boys. They share with each other all the blessings as well as all the turbulences they experienced through their marriages. By the end of their lives, they finally get together and bonded in the virtue of love and discovered that they never loved anyone so profoundly as they loved each other. Their feelings began when they first saw each other.

This production is an Equity Approved Showcase. Directed by Wendy-Marie Martin, Love Letters was initially presented at The Long Wharf Theatre. A special thank you to Wendy for such an amazing job of creating water bottles and glasses as the third actor on the stage. Drinks those actors used throughout the play represented the passing of time and the emotional disturbances; being disappointed in each other by being angry, happy, curious, or drunk state. Very enjoyable moments. Thank You.

Love Letters, the classic romance written by A.R. Gurney, played at Theatre 68 Arts Complex (The Emerson, 5112 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601) from March 31-April 2, 2023. Performances were Friday at 8:00, Saturday at 3:00 and 8:00, and Sunday at 2:00. Tickets are $25.

The presenters of this production are pleased to highlight their official support for the Greater LA County chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), a non-profit organization that promotes wellness, recovery, equality, and dignity for individuals and families affected by mental illness and the community at large. Net proceeds from this production of Love Letters are being proudly donated to NAMI GLAC to support these worthy efforts.  To add your own support to NAMI GLAC, you can participate in their upcoming event, NAMIWalks Greater Los Angeles County on Saturday, April 29. We encourage you to visit their website at www.namiglac,org and support or register for the walk.

Special thanks to Art Butler, Arne Johnson, Hazell Hall, Liz Jackson, Phillip Sokoloff, Neuman  Mannas, Kathleen Hagan, Nathan Matheny, Amber Bruegel & the Theatre 68 Arts Complex staff, Hollins University, Retro Relics Etcetera of Canoga Park, and Praise Christian Fellowship Los Angeles. Very special thanks to Landon Deforge for designing all the graphics for this production.

Love Letters is a story of a love that never went away. If you haven't experienced Love Letters before, do yourself a favor and go and see it the next time it returns to Los Angeles.

Photo by:  Amalisha HuEck

Posted By DH Magazine on April 14, 2023 06:33 pm | Permalink