Love Letters by MCP Company Be

AT THE VERMONT COFFEE COMPANY PLAYHOUSE

A.R. Gurney’s Love Letters will be the debut production of Company Be, a new wing of the Middlebury Community Players, at the Vermont Coffee Company Playhouse, 1197 Exchange Street in Middlebury. There will be an evening performances on Saturday, August 26, 2017, at 8:00pm, and a 2:00pm matinee on Sunday, August 27th. Tickets are $10 cash at the door.

From its beginnings as a piece of fiction rejected by The New Yorker magazine, Love Letters has become a a staple of small theaters all over the world. It’s pure theater: two actors sit at a table and read letters which reveal their complicated lives together and apart. Melissa and Andy begin writing each other in second grade, sending birthday party thank-you notes and summer camp postcards. They continue corresponding as they follow the diverging paths of their mature years, ending in a touching culmination of shared experiences and mutual love.

Diana Bigelow and Jim Stapleton, the noted husband-and-wife acting team from Bristol, star in this celebration of romance and the written word. They have performed in a number of plays together, and were especially memorable in The Gin Game. They transformed that play, intended to be fully staged, into a quasi-reading by carrying scripts throughout. Stapleton explains: “Part of this is biology: we find it more difficult to memorize lines as we get older. Part is philosophy: we believe readings can be as engaging as fully-staged plays, but how you approach it is crucial. Comments from audience members of The Gin Game were positive: no one was bothered that we carried scripts. One reviewer disputed that we were carrying scripts at all!”

Love Letters is different. The author designed this piece as a reading, he more or less forbade actors to memorize it. This exacts different kinds of demands on the Bristol couple. Stapleton elaborates: “All of the actor’s arts come more fully into play here: voice accent, age, and color as well as expression, timing, and gesture. It’s a fun challenge.”

Love Letters is the first production of Company Be, a branch of MCP created to produce smaller and more experimental plays while maintaining the core repertoire of plays and musicals that have been its mainstay since 1959. The Vermont Coffee Company Playhouse is the perfect venue for this type of bold, intimate theater.

Love Letters is presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc., New York.