The University of Wisconsin-Platteville Department of Performing and Visual Arts and the Platteville Summer Arts Festival will present A.R. Gurney’s classic play “Love Letters,” featuring former associate professor of theatre Dr. David Schuler and former Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost Dr. Mittie Den Herder. The production runs July 18, 19 and 20 at 7:30 p.m. and July 21 at 2 p.m. in the university’s Center for the Arts Brodbeck Concert Hall.
The play, performed in the style known as “reader’s theatre,” is comprised of two actors reading letters exchanged over a lifetime between two characters, Andrew and Melissa, who grew up together, went their separate ways, but continued to share confidences.
“It’s a play about how relationships are affected by how we communicate our needs and desires to those closest to us,” said Schuler. “Unfortunately for Andrew and Melissa, they never seem to be on the same page.”
“I love this show because even in this age of social media, I continue to write and enjoy receiving ‘real’ letters through the U.S. Postal Service,” said Den Herder. “I also keep those that have meaning, so I can easily relate to these two people who are reminiscing about their lives and this important relationship by re-reading old letters. I also love the fact that it is reader’s theatre, which decreases stage fright.”
“We are thrilled to have Mittie and David back in town to perform this funny and poignant show,” said Dr. Ann Farrelly, artistic director of the festival and associate professor of theatre at UW-Platteville.
The duo has been planning on a collaboration for some time.
“Mittie and I talked about doing something together a few years before we both retired, but because of our schedules we were never able to make it work,” said Schuler. “Now that we’re retired, or at least semi-retired, we have the time, so we just needed to find the vehicle. I think Gurney’s ‘Love Letters’ is an ideal vehicle for us; it is a wonderfully crafted, character driven play.”
This show is not the first time the two have worked together.
“I worked with David Schuler in “The Laramie Project,” which he directed at UW- Platteville years ago,” said Den Herder. “He is such a talented artist and I am looking forward to acting with him in ‘Love Letters.’”
Proceeds from the production will go to support theatre program scholarships.
“There are countless deserving students at UW-Platteville who can benefit both academically and financially with assistance,” said Schuler. “Theatre, like all the arts, is essential to our continued survival as a civilized society. The theatre program has continued to grow and strengthen, providing endless opportunities for the students and community of Platteville, so my colleagues deserve support for all the good work they have done and continue to do, and who afforded me 10 of the most rewarding years of my life.”
The production will have a scenic and lighting design by Samuel Klaas, a UW-Platteville alumnus who graduated in May with a degree in theatre.
All tickets for “Love Letters” are $15 (price includes the $2 box office fee). For more information, visit /performing-and-visual-arts/love-letters. For tickets, call the University Box Office at 608-342-1298 or visit tickets.uwplatt.edu.