By David Guffy
KU Presents! showcased the famous Broadway production “Love Letters” in Schaeffer Auditorium on Wednesday, Feb. 13, at 7:30 p.m.
Barbara Eden, well-known for her role in the television show “I Dream of Jeannie,” played the role of Melissa Gardner. Andrew Ladd’s character was originally going to be played by famed actor Hal Linden, but due to an unfortunate injury, Barry Bostwick took his place. Bostwick is most well-known for his role in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and the sitcom “Spin City.”
The play, written by A.R. Gurney, first premiered in New York in 1988. The plot begins with two close childhood friends who come from wealthy families. As their lives continued, they went separate their ways but continued to send each other love letters. Despite the distance between them and how much they grew apart, their love for each other always found a way for them to reconnect.
The performance began with a light shining down on a desk with two chairs. It gave the impression of simplicity and anticipation. As the two actors entered the stage, dressed in a dashing suit and vibrant dress, the crowd erupted with applause.
The two actors sat down and began reading their love letters to each other. They started exchanging birthday letters and cards from camp or school. Eventually, those simple messages turned into something greater as they continued to write to each other throughout college.
Andrew wrote of stories about law school at Yale and even continued to write his love letters throughout his military service. During this time, he kept Melissa informed on his successes in law and politics and even his marriage.
Melissa wrote letters of her experiences at different schools. She told Andy how she went on to marry, but eventually, her relationship faded with her husband and daughter; she even informed him of her slight drinking problem.
Despite the simple set and monologue-type performance, the actors were enticing and inviting. Their tone of voice flowed perfectly and kept the audience attached. Their excellent use of facial expressions and gestures displayed their emotions, both humorous and serious. The crowd was filled with laughter at times and others dead silence.
Andrew wrote his last letter to Melissa’s mother. After Melissa’s death, he wrote to her mother explaining their love for each other despite the distance, both physically and emotionally. In a powerful and moving statement, he told her they were as close as true lovers could get.
KU Presents! did an excellent job putting together this performance. The big name actors especially drew a crowd from the older generation.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment