Review “Other Letters” (The Other Theatre): Romantic Sonnet of Love’s Complications Over The Years

other-letters-8267The Other Theatre Company presents the World Premiere of OTHER LETTERS.

In an age of texting and emailing, sentiment is abbreviated to essential words, acronyms and emoticons.  Letter writing has become a lost art. And along with that loss is the missing written expression of the human connection. Inspired by A.R. Gurney’s Love Letters, Other Letters, Bryan Renaud and Carin Silkaitis have penned a romantic tale of letter writing. Actually, they have written two scripts, one for a gay couple and one for a lesbian couple.  Each night two different actors take the audience through a relationship of two lovers with bad timing.

At my performance, Patti Lavery and Sarah Charipar played Jen and Chris.  The girls met in third grade when Jen was a new student. They were immediately besties and started writing notes to each other. They both experienced a mutual feeling of belonging together.  Despite that shared affection, Jen still hung out with the cool kids and Chris was often left alone. This pattern continued for the next few decades.  Following years of secret make-out sessions and planned couples’ weekends, their correspondences would reflect how happy they each were when they were together. The ongoing problem was the world interfered in their love affair.

Lavery and Charipar beautifully portrayed these girls to women. Even though they sat at separate writing desks and never even touched, sparks flew between them.  The coming-of-age flirtation turned to unsustainable passion.  Lavery and Charipar exhibited equal amounts of delight and anguish over the decades.  Both actors visibly cried while reading from their binders.  The love affair is that tender and tumultuous.  It’s emotional roller coaster rides with long lines in-between trips.  I enjoyed how Renaud and Silkaitis showed the passage of time.  During one sequence, it was a series of brief holiday greetings and wishes for the next year.  Not only did it give a sense of where the ladies were in their lives, it was also this powerful reminder of how time slips away.  We intentionally or unintentionally shelf relationships until life settles down… but life never settles down.

Dear (fill in the blank),

OTHER LETTERS engages as a romantic sonnet of love’s complication over the years. It’s two different actors for each show.  I think you’d enjoy this experience.  Go see it!

Best,  Katy

Running Time: Seventy minutes with no intermission

At Side Project Theatre, 1439 W. Jarvis

Inspired by A.R. Gurney’s Love Letters, Other Letters

Written by Bryan Renaud and Carin Silkaitis

Directed by Carin Silkaitis

February 21st, 22nd, 28th, 29th

Buy Tickets at www.theothertheatrecompany.com

For more information and reviews on Chicago theatre, visit Theater in Chicago.

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