Love Letters, an emotional ride through the lives of two people who share their most intimate thoughts over 50 years, written by A.R. Gurney, was shortlisted for a Pulitzer prize. 

It was performed by Stuart Waterworth and Barbara Howland, directed by Ali Fife Cook.  The first performance was given in association with the Friends of the Tavistock Festival and owing to its huge success additional performances were arranged as part of the Tavistock Festival 2015.

22nd November 2014, The Wharf, Tavistock
28th April 2015, Nicholls Hall, Lydford

1st May 2015, The Old School, Stoke Climsland

 

  The performance at The Wharf was reviewed in the Tavistock Times:

      I can be wrong. I was wrong last Saturday when I went with rather low expectations to a play at the Wharf. Being a two-hander and being a reading I expected something like a radio play. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good radio play but ‘Love Letters’ presented by The Tavonians was not only a real play but was magnificent. The two performers, Stuart Waterworth and Barbara Howland, despite being seated throughout, brought huge emotion to a great piece of writing. Directed by Ali Fife Cook, it was cleverly presented with just two tables and chairs on a mini stage in front of the curtain, which gave an intimate atmosphere. You soon forgot they were reading from scripts, and the comparative stillness draw you into their worlds.
      The American playwright A R Gurney is not well known in this country but I can understand why this piece has been wowing audiences. It is very cleverly written and really quite unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. It tells the story of two friends over a period of 50 years – Andy Ladd III is conventional and on a pre-ordained path to high political office, whilst the artistic and flighty Melissa Gardner is from a wealthy but broken family. Their childhood friendship is kept alive through a series of occasional letters and notes, despite Melissa not liking writing. For many years they don’t see each other, but when they do meet up again very much later in life the consequences are both exquisite and traumatic. It’s a dysfunctional relationship and you wonder if things would have been better or worse had they actually got together as young adults.
      I saw The Tavonians’ production of ‘Calendar Girls’ last year. That was a great performance, lots happening, lots of characters, full of laughter and tears. ‘Love Letters’ might have less happening and fewer characters, but the laughter was loud and some in the audience were moved to real tears at the death of Melissa, even though you could still see her sitting there in her chair. It was one of the most touching things I’ve seen in a long time.
      I did hear it mentioned that there might be other performances of ‘Love Letters’ in the future. I hope so, and I urge you all to go and see it.

Muriel Arthur