by A.R. Gurney
(September 17 to October 9, 2021)
Director: Barbara Larose
Producers: Julie Rush and John Acuna
Love Letters is presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc., New York.
Here’s what some audience members thought of the show:
- “We just want you to know that the three of us thoroughly enjoyed “Love Letters” last night. The whole show was great.”
- “We saw Love Letters on September 26th and thought it was wonderfully well done! A moving and beautifully executed play by both actors. Thank you!!!”
- “It brought a lump to my eye and a tear to my throat”.
- “So nice to have my 1st Live Theatre experience (in a long time) at the #villageplayhouse.”
- “It is so nice to be in an actual theatre again, instead of Zooming. And I felt perfectly safe with all the precautions you’ve taken. Lovely show.”
With the comfort and safety of our patrons always on our mind, mask and proof-of-vaccination (with ID) requirements were in place and the theatre had significantly reduced capacity to allow physical distancing. Audiences benefited from our updated AC and ventilation to bring in fresh air from outside, with UVC purification (designed for hospitals) to kill viruses in the air. Doors remained closed until 45 minutes before show time to prevent congestion in the lobby, and the show had no intermission.
For more, click HERE .
Cast photos by JD Joute; AC photo by Bridget Jankowski
And here’s our cast!
Click HERE for cast bios.
Cast #1 (Top Row): Deena Baltman and Rob Candy (director Barbara Larose shown)
Cast #2 (Lower Row): Brenda Massey-Beauregard and Rob Candy
The casts alternated.
NOTE: On Friday October 8, the role of Andrew was played by David Borwick.
About the play….
Andrew Makepeace Ladd III and Melissa Gardner, both born to wealth and position, are childhood friends whose lifelong correspondence begins with birthday party thank-you notes and summer camp postcards. Romantically attached, they continue to exchange letters through boarding school, college and beyond, as each go their separate ways but continue to share confidences. What is created is an evocative, touching, frequently funny but always telling pair of character studies in which what is implied is as revealing and meaningful as what is actually written down. Andy’s last letter makes it eloquently clear how much they really meant, and gave to, each other over the years.
Love Letters debuted on Broadway with Colleen Dewhurst and Jason Robards. Among the many stars of stage and screen who joined them in playing Melissa and Andrew over the years were Jane Curtin and Edward Herrmann, Timothy Hutton and Elizabeth McGovern, Swoosie Kurtz and Richard Thomas, Elaine Stritch and Cliff Robertson, Victor Garber and Madeline Kahn, Christopher Walken and Diane Ladd, Barbara Eden and Hal Linden, Jayne Meadows and Steve Allen, Robert Wagner and Jill St. John, Marsha Mason and Neil Simon, Julie Harris and George Grizzard, Brian Dennehy and Carol Burnett / Mia Farrow, Diana Rigg and Stacey Keach, Alan Alda and Candice Bergen, Anjelica Huston & Martin Sheen. Sally Fields and Bryan Cranston played the roles in 2020 and a British production with Jenny Seagrove and Martin Shaw ran in 2020 and 2021.
“Love Letters is the tender, tragi-comic story of the shared nostalgia, missed opportunities, and deep closeness of two lifelong, complicated friends. A play that could have been written for the Covid era about two people physically separated yet brought together by candid communication and shared confidences, a romance blossoming across the miles and the years.”
~ Douglas Mayo BritishTheatre.com: March 29, 2021
About A.R. Gurney, the playwright…
Albert Ramsdell Gurney Jr. (1930 –2017) was an American playwright, novelist and academic. Born and raised in privilege and tradition in Buffalo, NY, his series of plays about upper-class WASP life in contemporary America have been called “penetratingly witty studies of the WASP ascendancy in retreat.”
He was a professor of humanities and literature at MIT for 36 years. His first hit as a play was The Dining Room in 1982; another was The Cocktail Hour, staged by Village Players in 2004 (with current actor Rob Candy in the cast). Love Letters (which Village Players also staged in its Studio space in 1995) was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Village Players also staged his The Golden Age in 2010. His Sylvia has been produced by other Toronto community theatres. One of the most prolific dramatists of his time, he had more than 50 plays to his credit.
“WASPs do have a culture — traditions, idiosyncrasies, quirks, particular signals and totems we pass on to one another. But the WASP culture, or at least that aspect of the culture I talk about, is enough in the past so that we can now look at it with some objectivity, smile at it, and even appreciate some of its values. There was a closeness of family, a commitment to duty, to stoic responsibility, which I think we have to say weren’t entirely bad.”
~ AR Gurney to the Washington Post, 1982
“Most of my plays are very close to home. That was very much my family on stage.”
~ AR Gurney to Playbill, 2010
“Yet Mr. Gurney adored the theater with a passion that spilled over the edges of even his most decorous comedies, and he feared for its survival. He was his generation’s greatest practitioner of that gentle paradox, the elegiac comedy, which considered the passing of the civilization he grew up in.”
~ Ben Brantley, New York Times, June 15, 2017
About Barbara Larose, the director…
Barbara studied theatre at Concordia University and has worked as a Director, Actor, Dramaturge, and Acting Coach for many years. For Village Players she has directed Evelyn Strange by Stewart Lemoine in 2017 and A.A. Milne’s comedy Mr. Pim Passes By for Village Players in 2015.
Directing credits elsewhere include: Sharon Pollock’s
Blood Relations, and James Reaney’s The Killdeer, Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf; Michel Tremblay’s The Real World?, Oscar Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan, The Memory of Water by Shelagh Stephenson, Margaret Edison’s Wit, and Tom Stoppard’s The Real Inspector Hound and After Magritte, all at the Alumnae Theatre. She has also directed plays in several New Ideas Festivals and several shows at the Toronto Fringe, including Life in the Raw which she also wrote with partner, Rick Jones, and Seeking Refuge in the 2017 Fringe – a critically-acclaimed musical written by Rick.