Sunday, July 15, 2007

Love Letters Reviews

Just thought I’d share the reviews of the play so far.
I’ll post pictures of the set later.

From Opening Night –

Written by a veteran actress of the local community theater

Love Letters at Stageworthy Productions
I didn't keep my program, so I don't have everyone's names. I'll do the best I can. It is a very well-written show. There is no substitute for good material. So anyone who comes to see this will be entertained for the extremely affordable price of $10.

Love Letters is written to be read by two actors. Director Diane Hayes chose to put her actors through the task of memorizing their letters and doing minimal blocking throughout the show. The two leads did a wonderful job of that managing that daunting task.

The set was gorgeous. It was a wall that incorporated lines from the show written in various fonts and scripts. It kept me fascinated through the whole show.

Serious kudos to the artist.Kudos to Stageworthy Productions for promoting community theater. They had an insert in their program listing all the upcoming productions through August.

Three more performances tomorrow and next Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m.

CCP's Studio 15 15 First Avenue NE
Carmel317 253-9115


From the Producer
Thank you for the kind words, SBS!

It was a great feeling last night as we "raised the curtain" on our first production! The audience was very receptive, and there were comments of people wanting to see it again!

Diane and her cast (Janet and Scott) have done a wonderful job, and with all the choices out there, I hope you all will consider sharing in this special experience.

We did have walk-ins last night, but you can always call the reservation line (253-9115) to ensure your best date.

Tickets are only $10 each payable at the door.


From the local theater critic

Love Letters review
Last night I attended the opening of "Love Letters," written by A.R. Gurney, directed by Diane Hayes, produced by John Kastner, and presented by Stageworthy Productions at The Studio in Carmel. It moved me emotionally and gave me a lot to think about in terms of theatrical production.

Warning: spoilers follow.

This was the most intimate theater space I had ever been in, and it was wonderful. It was especially wonderful for this piece in particular: just two people in their two separate comfort zones on the stage, speaking as if reading aloud their letters to each other over the years.

The director, Diane Hayes, told us that a note from the playwright says to stage this piece in such a way as to emphasize its language. I.e. - put the actors in simple, black clothes, set them behind podiums, and let them read the script aloud to the audience. However, Diane decided to explore presenting it in a different way, without the physical barrier of a script or podium between the actors and the audience, and with a bit more blocking and other movement.

I have not seen any other productions of this piece, but I really liked what I got to experience last night. I did love the era-specific language - and I respect the actors for even attempting to memorize all that! - but I also loved the visual enhancements that Diane added.

The set itself (concept designed by Diane Hayes and executed by Ernest Bodrazic) was almost a third character. It used a pleasing, toasty warm palette and included single words and lines from the various letters that the two characters had written. The excerpts were shown in a variety of handwriting from the characters' various ages (e.g. - a child's printing or an adult's cursive) or engraving styles from various formal invitations.

It was enjoyable to just look at the set before the show started and to think of the words as random aesthetics, but then it was even more satisfying during the play to find myself looking back at the walls as various words came up in the story. It was very satisfying to suddenly understand the meaning behind, say, "Jane!" or "the election."

I also loved that even though the two characters' spaces were furnished differently and were divided by space as well as by skillfully timed lighting (designed and run by Tom Creviston), there were paintings propped up against both characters' walls. Melissa painted and Andy encouraged her to paint, but sometimes it happened in the opposite order: Andrew encouraged and then Melissa painted. It was right and satisfying to see paintings as well as words in both halves of the stage.

According to the program, Diane Hayes also coordinated the costumes, which were quite effective. Andrew wore a suit, which fit him being a lawyer and senator but which also enhanced his "stuffiness" in prep school. Melissa wore black, but over the black pants and top she wore a long, gorgeous turquoise jacket. It was a simple outfit that allowed her to move around a lot as an active child, sullen teen, bohemian artist, etc. but which also emphasized Melissa's beauty and love of color.

The actors, Scott Trammell (Andrew) and Jan Hodson (Melissa) were so good! I ached for Melissa, especially at the end. For both of them, actually.

Scott didn't seem completely grounded in his lines yet, but he used a scrapbook of the letters as part of his character portrayal anyway, so he had the letters to refer to naturally if he hit a blank spot mentally. It worked.

It also makes sense, anyway, for Andy to have a perfectly organized, linear scrapbook of Melissa's letters that he pours over, while Melissa (who says she doesn't like writing) just stuffs the cards and letters that she receives from Andy into a box by her chair.

Andy's speech about why he likes to write letters, and why he needs to write them, touched a deep, deep chord in me. I want to get a copy of the script and read those lines again for myself. I am not exactly like Andy - I like to keep copies of what I write; I like to write to individuals but I don't mind writing to groups; and experience has taught me that writing is not necessarily safer than communicating by telephone or in person.

But I knew exactly what he meant when he said something about liking who he can be when he writes, and how writing lets him figure out what he thinks and feels. Writing lets him make sense of the world.

Yes, I definitely want to read this script and maybe memorize portions of it myself.

In the meantime, I am writing to you. If you go see this play, please write and tell me (tell all of us) what you think! I bet you will be glad you went.

__________________-- Amaryllis Jones


From me

The scrapbook was a prop. The use of it was intentional and used as a prop. And yes, it was rather helpful in keeping me in tune with the flow of the dialogue, since it contains most of the letters written by Melissa to Andy. So there.


my4kids said...

Sounds like really good reviews to me, Alpha Dude! Thats fantastic.

HeiressChild said...

hi alpha dude, i agree with terri. the reviews were good, and the play sounds very interesting. congrats again on being chosen to be a part of it. i know you'll do well for the rest of the performances. thanks for taking time in between to share with us here.

Dr.John said...

Those are great reviews. I know I could never do that kind of performance so I pat you on the back. Keep on enjoying the play until you close.

EE said...

Good job, Alpha Dude...didn't expect anything less than a great reviews!!

Real Life in South Carolina said...

They really are great reviews. Wish I could see the play!