A.R. Gurney's bittersweet drama "Love Letters" tells the tale of the lifelong relationship between a man and a woman who grow up together and continue a lifelong correspondence after moving apart. The play, presented by the McLean Theatre Alliance (MTA), started at the Alden Theatre on Oct. 7 and closes this weekend on Oct. 22. It is produced by David Kahn and directed by Susan Kahn.
Since the Alden Theatre is currently undergoing renovations, "Love Letters" seemed the perfect choice for this fall's play, because it requires little in the way of props, costumes and sets.
"We don't require a set, we have lights that are on and off, and it's only two people so we don't have to worry that we don't have the theatre," said Susan Kahn. "It's a wonderful story and this show has been done by innumerable people on Broadway."
Kahn decided that it would be a nice touch to have McLean residents and business leaders take on the two roles in the play. Paul Frank, Vice President of Community Affairs in the Business Development office at First Service Bank in McLean, will be performing with his wife Barbie Frank at the show's closing night on Saturday, Oct. 22. Frank is also the immediate past president of McLean Orchestra and is active in the McLean Chamber of Commerce.
"It's emotional and I think what's interesting is that the two characters are read," said Frank. "There's no movement on stage, they're both just sitting at the table and they take turns reading the letter to the other person, and you get the sense that the years have passed ... it's two people over a lifetime, and their age at this time is not what's really important."
Frank has also made plans for First Service Bank to host a closing reception for the audience at the end of Saturday night's show.
"I just thought it would be something nice to do," he said.
ON FRIDAY NIGHT, OCT. 21, Del. Vincent Callahan (R-34th District) will be performing in the show with longtime McLean resident and local historian Carole Herrick. Herrick says she has found it challenging to play a character who is so different from herself.
"I read the role of a character which I think is pretty much the opposite of me. I play a very artsy, avant-garde type of person who is very rebellious and anti-establishment, and who has tons and tons of money ... it's difficult for me to be in that role, but that's what acting is all about," said Herrick.
For his part, Callahan says that although the last time he performed in a play was "in the mid-third grade," he is not nervous at all.
"It's not as bad as a political speech," said Callahan.
McLean Orchestra trustee Ann Page performed in the opening night show and said that she was so moved by the play that she did not feel like she was acting.
"It's a wonderful play, and it's so touching that afterwards someone asked me how I turned on the tears, and I said I just got into it," said Page.
As a director Kahn said she found it fun and challenging to work with 8 different sets of actors.
"They've all kind of given their own twist to it, so it's different but entertaining," said Kahn.