Kudos for ‘Love Letters’

Island Stage Left fans are in for a rare treat as director Helen Machine-Smith mounts the stage with her partner Daniel Mayes.

Like ACT Peter Donat’s magical monologue with few props at the Little Fox Theatre in “Spaghetti-in-Tugboats”, simple dialog creates an entire world at SJC Fairgrounds.  Seated at table, A.R. Gurney’s two characters read a 50-year correspondence. Stillness reverberates as Melissa Gardner and Andrew Makepiece Ladd III await response, explanation, for the fear, fury, and joy of living.

Minute, remorseless review of actions or nothing may follow,  “Are you there?”  Pause unlocks viewer memory of the family spaniel, uncertainty, trying first love and moments of hilarity.  Andy’s brag-and-gag letter contrasts purity of exchange elsewhere.  Inherent loyalty between the two yields delight in accomplishment and compassion for pain. As individuals tune in to each other over the years, Helen and Dan’s own imagination continues to inspire and provoke thought among those fortunate enough to attend “Love Letters”.  When ego trumps heart, what happens?

Gay Wilmerding

San Juan Island