Bare Theatre’s production of A.R. Gurney’s Love Letters opens Friday, Feb 12. The play centers on the lifelong correspondence of characters Andrew and Melissa. The timing of this piece is appropriate, occurring during the annual season set aside for matters of the heart.
Many tokens and gestures are used to express our affections, but in the past thousand years the love letter is one of the quintessential cornerstones of romance. An ardent love letter from your paramour is more delectable than chocolates, more aromatic than roses, and more precious than diamonds because whereas the aforementioned items may be gifts from the heart, a love letter is an offering from the soul. Everyone from the most formidable ruler to the awkward school child has taken pen to paper in order to put into words the bubbling wellspring of passion overflowing from their hearts. Who hasn’t kept such cherished note from a former or present love safe and secure, whether in some tangible place or engraved in perpetuity upon their heart.
How liberating is it to soulfully style one’s sincerest affection for another and how sweet to receive that fervent devotion! Even the briefest of romances can stay with us through the years, and even those couplings, which may have perished in the course of a bitter winter, at one time, budded during the advent of a blissful spring.
A millennia ago, the medieval scholar Heloise, in a letter to her lover Peter Abelard, esteemed the importance of expressing our affections via the written word, saying,
They have souls; they can speak; they have in them all that force which expresses the transports of the heart; they have all the fire of our passions, they can raise them as much as if the persons themselves were present; they have all the tenderness and the delicacy of speech, and sometimes even a boldness of expression beyond it.”
– Chuck Keith, Writer in Residence
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