Meet the Playwright: A.R. Gurney

As more Love Letters performances are about to be announced, I would like to take a look at the man responsible for this incredible script. A.R. Gurney is a Pulitzer Prize nominated playwright born in Buffalo, NY.

My favorite modern playwright

A.R. Gurney is my favorite modern playwright for many reasons. He might be my favorite playwright of all time.

Fun and rewarding to perform

The first play I ever performed was his Sylvia. That title is the only reason I auditioned; how could I pass up any show named after me? The newspapers even noted the name duplicity. However, I was told one big reason I got the part because of my dance background. The director knew I would be able to perform the physicality she wanted from Sylvia the dog. If I have now peaked your interested about a play in which the title character is a talking dog, please go search out this text!

I am extremely lucky to have had such an amazing cast and director for my first foray into speaking more than eight lines on stage. This is terrifying for a dancer! Gurney made it a touch easier for me. I was hooked reading the script for the first time. I feel that he is careful in the way he writes. Speaking exactly what is written (something my director insisted on) gave a perfect clue as to the performance of the character.

I studied how my fellow actors approached the script and found that performing as written was common practice and resulted in more compelling renditions. I learned so much from that first play. It is still my favorite show that I have ever performed.

A wonderful read

I was an English minor in college and do love reading plays. That first reading of Sylvia was so exciting because I could see the play in my head. It took no effort at all. It was just so enjoyable.

Love Letters was the same for me. I suggested Love Letters before I read it, and had no hesitation in doing so. I had only been exposed to Sylvia, The Dining Room and The Cocktail Hour, but that was enough to know that Gurney’s style would still be great in Love Letters.

Not only that, the whole concept of this play was so unique. Two people reading letters is the whole show. It shines a light on the written word, which is where Gurney excels. Intriguing to me, perfect for our covid situation where being outside is ideal. It is even more perfect to take on the road because it can fit into small spaces.

It also resonated with our local actors. Maybe it was the fact that there was no memorization required. Maybe we’re all ready for live, in-person theater. Perhaps they love Gurney as much as I do. Whatever the reason, I had more people audition for this show than I thought possible, and I am grateful for that.

Love Letters in NW PA

I hope you can tell that I hold Gurney in high regard when it comes to theater. He wrote many plays and I look forward to being a part of more of them. But for now, it is time to bring his Love Letters to our MCT community. You can buy tickets for our Linesville production already (do so here). I hope to see you while we are out and about, traveling north, south, east and west.

If you would like to know more about A.R. Gurney, you can visit his website here.

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