The epistolary format (i.e., a story told through a series of letters) is usually reserved for novels, but it can sometimes spring up in other mediums, as in A.R. Gurney’s Pulitzer-Prize finalist Love Letters, coming to Olympia Little Theatre this summer. Co-directed by Toni Holm and James Patrick, the production will feature 11 different pairs of actors playing the roles of Melissa Gardner and Andrew Makepeace, lovers across time who never seem to get it together. The story is told over a period of 50 years, with artist Melissa and attorney Andrew reading correspondence from throughout their lives. Each night will feature a different pair of actors, with Holm directing the first six and Patrick coordinating the latter five.
Love Letters takes the stage as OLT’s last play of the 2016-17 season. Originally, Communicating Doors was slated for that slot but, due to the failing health of director Kathryn Beall, that production was canceled. “When it was apparent she wasn’t going to get better,” said Holm, “we started talking. She said, ‘You know, we probably should do something else.’” It was after looking through play submissions that Holm and artistic manager Kendra Malm discovered a proposal for Love Letters, submitted by Jim and Susan Patrick.
Beall passed away on March 16, 2017, much quicker than anyone expected, but her influence lingers about the OLT stage. “Honestly, Kathryn was our most experienced and accomplished director,” said Holm. “She actually cast Jim in his first ever role on stage.”
“Kathryn had talked with my wife Susan (and Holm) about Love Letters before she passed away,” said Patrick, “and had, in fact, told Susan the couples she would like to see play characters in Love Letters … The journey of Love Letters at OLT and my role in bringing the play to the stage is important to me because Kathryn selected it and the actors she felt should play the roles.”
Love Letters serves as a tribute to Beall, doubling as a quiet and beautiful play that OLT believes audiences will appreciate, plus an opportunity to see how a variety of different actors interpret the same material.
7:25 p.m. Friday, June 16: Jim and Susan Patrick
7:25 p.m. Saturday, June 17: Larry Bonner and BarbaraAnn Smith
1:55 p.m. Sunday, June 18: Ingrid Pharris Goebel and Tim Goebel
7:25 p.m. Thursday, June 22: Jack House and Andrea Weston-Smart
7:25 p.m. Friday, June 23: Micheal O’Hara and Sharry O’Hare
7:25 p.m. Saturday, June 24: Jean Kivi Thomas and Jess Thomas
1:55 p.m. Sunday, June 25: Chris and Heather Cantrell
7:25 p.m. Thursday, June 29: Cori DeVerse and Cameron Waters
7:25 p.m. Friday, June 30: Silva Goetz and Robert McConkey
7:25 p.m. Saturday, July 1: Jeff Hirschberg and Anita Pirkle
1:55 p.m. Sunday, July 2: Heather and Michael Christopher
What: Love Letters
Where: Olympia Little Theatre,
612 Miller Ave., Olympia
When: 7:25 p.m. Thursdays – Saturdays,
1:55 p.m. Sundays, June 16 – July 2
How much: $9-$15
Learn more: 360-786-9484 | OLT