Our local community theater play “Love Letters” opened last night.
I mentioned before that everyone keeps telling me to break a leg. This has me somewhat worried since the only occasion I can think of where an actor broke a leg on stage was right after President Lincoln was shot at Ford’s Theater. So I wasn’t too sure this was such a good thing.
I asked the director about why people say this and she, being a veteran of the stage, informed me that it was a good thing. She says that saying “break a leg” is the nicest thing you can say to an actor before they go on stage and that saying “the other thing” is actually bad luck.
Now, the director refuses to actually utter the words “Good Luck”, since she believes this to be a bad thing. However, she did schedule the opening night of the play for Friday the 13th! So, is she superstitious or not? I’m not really sure.
Also, our director, who has been involved in this play before, said that last night’s opening night had the largest turnout for an opening night of this particular play in this area. I am so glad the lights were shining bright in my eyes so I couldn’t really tell.
The play went rather well. Oh, there were a couple of blown lines (I missed a couple of words once), but me, my co-star, and the director were the only ones who knew about it. The little “mistakes” were small and unimportant and had no effect on the flow of the story. So it all worked out.
I was amazed at the response from the audience. They laughed more than I thought they would, and sometimes when I didn’t think anyone would laugh at all.
I was having so much fun, that I was actually sorry when the play came to an end. When the lights came back up, following my closing letter, I noticed my wife in the front row, crying her eyes out. I also heard a few sniffles throughout the audience as well. My 19 year old son even said he liked it. He thought it would be boring, but instead really enjoyed it and said he’s going to come see it again next weekend.
After the play, people I didn’t even know came up to shake my hand and say how much they liked the play. Throughout the entire play, I could tell the audience was really getting into it and “feeling” what the characters were feeling.
In case you aren’t familiar with this particular play, the two characters never interact with each other and don’t even look at each other or in each other’s direction, and they never leave their side of the stage. Even so, you can still “feel” their story as each letter unfolds.
They each enter from opposite ends of the stage, and take their seats in what appears to be their own homes (den, study, living room, whatever). They share their “letters” to each other, which begin in the second grade in 1937, where they first met. The play tells the story, through their letters, notes, Christmas cards, Birthday cards, etc., to each other over the next fifty years.
The play is designed to be read by two people with only one or two rehearsals and they remain in their seats the entire time. In this play, we have done what has never been done before, that we know of. We don’t read it. We recite each letter from memory, while often moving around about our side of the stage. Even my character’s five minute long letter from boarding school. My character LOVES to write. A lot! So I have several looonnngg letters to recite. It isn’t so bad, since I can really relate to this guy.
Love Letters. Done in a way you’ve never seen it before. I am having a Blast!