‘Love Letters’ opens this weekend at WTHCT

Published 4:02 pm Monday, February 8, 2021

The curtain is going up for the next two weekend performances of “Love Letters” at West T. Hill Community Theatre.

Theater Manager Karen Logue said the show is “reader’s theater” meaning that the actors will be reading from their scripts with very little costume changes. “It’s popular and perfect for these pandemic days,” she said.

They couldn’t have auditions for the two characters so “we precast veteran actors,” who are also directors, Logue said. They’ve been directing themselves during Zoom and in-person rehearsals. The cast is made up of Jean Crawford and Buck Roger, who will perform Feb. 12, 13 and 14. Jan Sheffield Cooper and Chuck Taylor take over the roles for the Feb. 19, 20 and 21 performances.

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“Love Letters,” written by A.R. Gurney, centers on two characters, Melissa Gardner and Andrew Makepeace Ladd II who were born to wealth and position and are childhood friends, Logue said. “Their more than 50 years of correspondence brings shared memories and attachments, although only on paper, and long distance shared emotions. It’s too late when they realize how much they’ve missed being physically apart, but were always spiritually as close as only true lovers can be,” Logue explained.

“It’s entertaining. There’s humor and drama and lots of underlying romance. It’s perfect for Valentine’s Day weekend,” she added.

Showing the passing of time is done by the actors’ voice intonations and few costume changes, Crawford said. They also rely on their facial expressions and body language while writing and reading each others letters on stage, explained Crawford.

“Reader’s theater doesn’t require in-person choreographing and blocking. During COVID, reader’s theater is a gift for performing artists that allows the show to go on.”

Being pretty much shut down since March, Logue said she’s been trying to “keep the theater a float. … The biggest issue right now is income.”

She said last summer’s children’s theater camp, which is the theater’s largest source of income, was canceled and she doesn’t know if it will be again this summer or not because of the COVID pandemic. “If we can’t have it two years in a row, we’ll be hurting.”

But for now, the show is going on.

Tickets are $13 and can only be purchased online by going to www.westthill.net. Because of COVID restrictions, the only 30 people are allowed in the building for each show, Logue said. And even though social distancing will be enforced, families can still sit together.

“Love Letters” will be performed at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 12-13 and Feb. 19-20. Sunday matinées will be at 3 p.m. Feb. 14 and 21. Tickets are $13 and may be purchased online at www.westthill.net.