First it was a book, then a movie and now a play being staged by the folks at Island Theatre Workshop. The story in question is I Sent a Letter to My Love, written in 1975 by Bernice Rubens, a Welsh writer who won the Booker Prize in 1970 and was again short-listed for the prize in 1978.
The plot of I Sent a letter to My Love involves a series of mistaken identities, but the mood goes much deeper than mere confusion or high jinks. The characters are looking for love, in a mid-life journey sort of way, that also carries echoes of lives not quite lived. A sister cares for her brother who is crippled with polio. The brother begins a lonely-hearts pen pal relationship with, unbeknownst to him, his sister. Through the letters, the sister begins to see a new side to her brother, which pleases her until he requests a meeting with his newfound, but as yet unknown, lover.
The book became a French movie, made in 1981. Later, Grammy Awardwinning singer Melissa Manchester and dramatist Jeffrey Sweet put the story to music and the stage was set.
The Island Theatre Workshop cast includes Melanie Chaunce, Aaron Duclos, Treather Gassman, Martha Hudson and Crawford Scott, directed by Kevin Ryan, with music direction by Lisa Weiss. Mr. Ryan almost had to do double-duty and step in as an actor, too, after the lead nearly had to cancel, having to take care of his mother who is ill. Real life and the theatre beginning to merge.
The play begins on Thursday, June 21 and runs through July 7. All shows begin at 8 p.m. and will be performed at the Katharine Cornell Theatre in Vineyard Haven.
For a full schedule and to buy tickets, visit itwmv.org or call 508-627-3166.