Lovers pen lifetime of hopes, dreams


WHO: Robby and Dotty Davis

WHAT: Dinner and a play fundraiser for Theatre Albany

WHEN: Feb. 14; buffet dinner, 7 p.m.; curtain, 8:15 p.m.

WHERE: Theatre Albany, 514 Pine Ave.

TICKETS: $35, individual; $65, couple; tickets must be purchased by Feb. 8

BOX OFFICE: (229) 439-7193

— A special Theatre Albany presentation will take its audience on a lifelong journey with two lovers separated by distance in “Love Letters.”

Set for Valentine’s Day, the play, which will be performed by Lee County High School Theater Director Dotty Davis and her husband, Robby Davis, who is technical director for the Lee High productions.

“I thought it would be nice to have Robby and Dotty do this as a couple, rather than just arbitrarily this guy and this girl,” Theatre Albany Director Mark Costello said.

The play starts at 8:15 p.m. Feb. 14 in the main theater at 514 Pine Ave. following a 7 p.m. buffet dinner upstairs in the facility’s studio theater, where the play was last performed by Theatre Albany in 1994. That year, Costello said, the play had a two-weekend run and he used two sets of actors, one set each weekend. That was the way “Love Letters” was presented in New York.

“The way they did it in New York originally was each week two different actors would come and do the show. It wouldn’t be one couple doing the entire run of the show,” he said. “The novelty of it was you could go a couple of times and see different actors doing it.”

The play follows the lives of Andrew Makepeace Ladd III and Melissa Gardner, both from well-to-do families who become romantically entwined and who maintain an intimate correspondence throughout their lives, which take separate and starkly different paths.

“It’s done very simply,” Costello said. “It’s got a table and the actors read these letters. You would think, ‘Oh, that’s kind of boring.’ But it’s not if you listen to the letters and the story that comes out of this relationship between two people.

“It’s funny, tender, poignant, lyrical ... it’s all those things.”

Their letters to each other start out as birthday party thank-you notes and postcards from camp, but evolve as they grow older. Ladd goes to Yale University, where he excels and becomes a successful lawyer and, later, a U.S. senator. Gardner’s path is darker. Her marriage falls apart, she dabbles in art and promiscuity, drinks heavily and becomes estranged from her children. While she and Ladd have a brief affair, they find their spiritual love captured in their words does not translate into a physical relationship.

Costello said when he came up with the theater fundraiser, he was looking to create something different for local residents to do on Valentine’s Day.

“Most people around here when it’s Valentine’s are asking themselves, ‘OK, what restaurant is having a special?’ So, they go out and they eat and that’s it, or they can see blood and guts at the Carmike, or something like ‘Transformers.’ But this one ties in with whole Valentine’s Day.”

Tickets are $35, individual; $65, couple. Valet parking is available. For reservations, call (229) 439-7193 by Feb. 8.