Bare Productions, at Kevin Sobels Wines, Pokolbin
Saturday (final show)
A.R. GURNEY’s renowned play has a man and woman sitting at adjoining tables on stage and reading from the letters they exchange over almost 50 years, beginning with a thank you card that he, Andrew Makepeace Ladd III, sent to her, Melissa Gardner, when they were both seven and in second grade, and he was invited to her birthday party.
While social media has reduced such exchanges since the play’s premiere in 1989, it shows how moving and amusing well-expressed emotions can be. And while the actors, Alan Glover and Kath Perry, remain seated for the two 40-minute halves, their voices and faces make it clear what their feelings are as they hear each other’s words.
Director Annette Rowlison has ensured that audience members feel that these are people they know.
Both come from wealthy families near New York, and Melissa has no hesitation in the early years of their relationship in telling Andy just how much richer her parents are. But it’s Andy who is more sure of himself, building a successful law career while Melissa’s failure to study properly leads to her having to move from school to school and having problems in getting satisfying work.
But as happens in long-term relationships, when the people continue to connect even though they marry others, the exchanges they make reveal that they are concerned about each other’s welfare, and that leads to a very poignant final letter.