Love Letters at Coastal Rep

A masked and socially distant audience was able to enjoy a performance of “Love Letters,” directed by Gail Erwin, this past weekend at the Coastal Repertory Theatre in Half Moon Bay.

This is the first production hosted inside the theater since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

“I think people are very happy to come back and be inside and see the show,” Erwin said. “I’m very proud of the actors involved. They’re all just excellent.”

A.R. Gurney’s play follows two childhood friends who read letters to each other through the years. The audience is able to experience their two lives through their correspondence.

“It’s funny but also really poignant and touching,” Lauren Rhodes said. Rhodes and Jaap Tuinman performed as Melissa and Andy on the opening weekend.

“It’s really fascinating to see how these characters’ relationship has evolved over the years,” Rhodes said.

“The audiences reacted to different things every night,” Rhodes said. “It was really nice to get back to a live audience and have that interaction and investment in the story. It was nice to feel like we’re moving toward getting back to some semblance of normal.”

Tuinman also performed in “Sorry, Wrong Number,” one of the outdoor performances hosted by the Coastal Repertory Theatre.

“I think there was something really nicely comforting and nostalgic about a play that focused so deeply just on two people communicating with each other in a very intimate and ultimately old-fashioned way,” Tuinman said. “I spend most of my time on Zoom calls, as a lot of folks have for the last while, and we’re spending a lot of time communicating with each other like that and this was a different time and a different way of communicating. It was nice to have that as a counterpoint to what pandemic life has been like.”

Carolyn Ford Compton and Louis Schilling will be performing in “Love Letters” this weekend, with evening performances on Friday and Saturday, and a matinee on Sunday. Danny Martin and a mystery guest will be performing the final weekend of the production which runs from June 25 to 27. Tickets can be purchased online at coastalrep.com for the upcoming performances.

“It’s just much more like old times,” Erwin said.

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