A lifetime of loving and longing brought to the stage

LOVE LETTERS: Pocket Players will debut its first play, Love Letters, featuring Michael Barnacoat and Elaine Hudson on August 17. Photo: Charli Shield.

LOVE LETTERS: Pocket Players will debut its first play, Love Letters, featuring Michael Barnacoat and Elaine Hudson on August 17. Photo: Charli Shield.

An intimate and provocative performance is set to hit the stage this weekend in a first for Highlands-based production company, Pocket Players. 

Centered on the lives of two past lovers, Love Letters explores love, longing and missed opportunities.

Director of the play and founder of Pocket Players, Pauline Furlong, said the piece is “a poignant story about how if you don’t seize the moment it will pass you by.”

“It’s written about a couple who have loved each other all their lives and the story is told through letters written over 50 years,” she said.

The performance features long-term friends of Ms Furlong’s, Sydney actors Elaine Hudson, who plays the role of Melissa Gardner, and Michael Barnacoat, cast as Andrew Makepeace Ladd III.

The trio have spent recent weeks rehearsing in a big barn on Pauline’s property in Exeter.

“I’ve known both of them since I was 18 or 19, which is why they were eager to come down and work with me. They both know and love the area.”

Written by American playwright and novelist A.R.Gurney in 1988, the play is based on the world in which he lived – a dying East Coast WASP culture dominated by old wealth, status, and rigid gender roles. 

Melissa Gardner is bound by expectations she will marry into wealth and rear children, and Andrew Makepeace Ladd III is pressured to excel in a prestigious career. 

“It’s a challenging play. The kind of world A.R.Gurney lived in restricted people’s feelings,” said Ms Hudson.

Ms Furlong said the story is likely to evoke strong emotions and memories for viewers. “It’s very evocative – the letters come alive as the actors read them. You really get inside the [characters] minds,” she said.

“The [audience] think they’re just reading letters, but they learn so much about them.”

“It hits a lot of audiences. It’s a universal story about love.”

Ms Furlong hopes to establish lunch-time theatre as a staple in the Highlands through her newly founded production company, which aims to put on three to four shows a year. 

“I want people to be able to go to the theatre in their lunch break, especially those who don’t like to go out at night,” she said.

"Regional life needs to be just as fulfilling and accessible to all things that make life happier and more interesting as city living.”

Love Letters is on show at 1pm at the Moss Vale theatrette on August 17 and 18, and 1pm at the Bowral Memorial Hall on August 19 and 20. 

Tickets are available on the door or through the Mittagong Information Bureau. 

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop