Candle light, love letters and power cuts

“New Indian Express”
Candle light, love letters and power cuts
Saturday October 30 2004 10:34 IST

BANGALORE: It is widely believed that if a problem occurs, it is better to tackle it head on. The cast and crew of DreamScope certainly seemed to take this approach when performing A R Gurney’s Love Letters at Gallery Sumukha on October 28, for the drama started before the actual Drama.

A power cut moments before the action resulted in the actors improvising under candlelight to a reshuffled close-up audience in an unusual, intimate setting.

Challenging the background noise of a power generator without the aid of a microphone was no mean feat for the actors, so they should be commended for putting across the dialogue in a crystal clear fashion.

Love letters surrounds two childhood friends, Andrew Makepeace Ladd III and Melissa Gardner, and their correspondence through their letters, as their lives take different courses over the span of 40 years. Of course, the couple fall in love and the tension between them through their written words is unbearable at times.

According to the author, Love Letters requires no actual stage, no rehearsal and no memorization of lines from the actors. In many respects Gurney is spot on as the set is very minimal consisting of just a couple of tables and chairs and the actors simply read their “letters” on stage.

However this doesn’t mean that skilled acting is not required, as it must be very demanding for the two actors during the course of the performance, especially when they are the only actors involved and they don’t interact with each other.

Brilliantly written, Gurney depicts the characters’ personalities and feelings perfectly. But as important is what is not said in the letters, the feelings that aren’t written but conveyed by the actors. It is the words between the lines that succors the development of the story and grips the audience.

Despite the technical difficulties, it was a pleasure to sit through the whole three hours of what must have been a very difficult performance for all involved.

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