Georgette Kleier & J.R. Stuart. Photo: Stage on Spring
By A.R. Gurney
Directed and Produced by J.R. Stuart
A review by Annette Skaggs
Entire contents are copyright © 2020, by Annette Skaggs. All rights reserved.
Do you remember sitting in your 3rd-grade classroom when in walked that special person? You knew instantly that you would be close friends. You were shy and reluctant to start conversation, but, before you know it, you were invited to their house for a birthday party. Through your mother’s insistence, you RSVP for the party. Unbeknownst to you, through this simple act of letter writing, a lifelong relationship blooms.
Love Letters is the story of Melissa (Georgette Kleier) and Alan (J.R. Stuart), who met in grade school and forged an undeniable bond that survives puberty, college, divorces, death, and love. Within this story, Melissa and Alan’s relationship is expressed through the dying art of writing letters, whether in long-form or short messages.
It is clear that Alan loves to write while Melissa is succinct to the point of being blunt. The letters begin innocently, as 3rd-grade writing should, but as the years roll on and the characters get older you can hear their relationship progress through teasing, flirting, hook-ups, and most importantly, intimacy. Emotionally, these moments are often humorous but sometimes gut-wrenching.
Letters and salutations are often shared around the holidays and special occasions, but there are times that their communication breaks down for long periods. Why the long breaks? Perhaps because their passion for one another makes them feel uncomfortable.
Ms. Kleier and Mr. Stuart beautifully embody these characters within this simple production. Sitting on stage with a binder filled with paper on a raised platform with a glass of water at their side they “read” from their letters. With each turn of the page, the characters come alive and we can’t wait to hear what the next letter has to say. The pauses are appropriate, the inflections, even the anger.
Inevitably, the telephone comes into the equation, but Alan sums up his feelings when he describes how he knows he able to be more fully honest because he gives a part of himself when he writes.
I have to agree with him, there are fewer things more personal than a handwritten letter.
Love Letters is eloquent in its delivery and hits all of the right marks.
Stage on Spring, located at St. Marks UCC Chapel, has a mission of its own “Move the World Forward in Love – One Play at a Time”. I can’t think of a better play to embody that mission.
February 5, 6, 7, 8,& 9 @ 7:00 pm
February 9 @ 2:00 pm
Stage on Spring
St. Marks UCC
222 East Spring Street
New Albany, IN 47150
St. Marks UCC
Annette Skaggs is heavily involved as an Arts Advocate here in Louisville. She is a freelance professional opera singer who has performed throughout Europe and in St. Louis, Cincinnati, Boulder, Little Rock, Peoria, Chicago, New York and of course Louisville. Aside from her singing career, she has been a production assistant for Kentucky Opera, New York City Opera, and Northwestern University. Her knowledge and expertise have developed over the course of 25+ years’ experience in the classical arts.