Even if it was Songkran week, the Pattaya City Expats Club (PCEC) still had its weekly meeting as they have had now for more than 17 years. On Sunday, April 15, rather than have a speaker, the PCEC enjoyed a performance by Pattaya Players to entertain those brave enough to get out and about to attend the meeting.
Pattaya Players were established in January 2008 to create an artistically adventurous environment that attracts and excites diverse members of the Pattaya community by providing theatrical productions to entertain, inspire and inform. They offer several public performances in Pattaya during the year at various venues.
A shortened version of the play “Love Letters” was performed by Doug Campbell and Luz Welmans, members of Pattaya Players, to fit within the PCEC’s meeting format. The play, written by A. R. Gurney, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The play features two star crossed people who share letters of love over 50 years. They look back at the many letters written over a lifetime. It is a mix of humor and pathos, with a powerful emotional finale.
About the play from Wikipedia: “… The play centers on two characters, Melissa Gardner and Andrew Makepeace Ladd III. Using the epistolary form sometimes found in novels, they sit side by side at tables and read the notes, letters and cards – in which over nearly 50 years, they discuss their hopes and ambitions, dreams and disappointments, victories and defeats – that have passed between them throughout their separated lives.”
Excerpted from a review of the play on www. hollyoodreporter.com: “A table, two chairs and a pair of actors reading from scripts on an otherwise bare stage sounds like one notch up from a radio play. But A.R. Gurney’s deceptively simple 1988 epistolary two-hander, Love Letters, is that rare work whose emotional richness requires no embellishment in order to become a full-bodied theatrical experience. All that’s needed are gifted actors capable of tracing the poignant thread of longing and regret that binds half a century of correspondence between characters whose relationship is thwarted by hesitation.”
MC Ren Lexander, after the usual initial announcements, gave a brief introduction of the play and enthusiastically introduced Doug who would read as Andy and Luz who would speak as Mellissa. The dialogue started slowly with the child like topics of young people going through the motions of writing but without significant substance. As the letters continued important life intersections were shared with Andy becoming successful first as an attorney and then as a Senator while Melissa seemed to be falling on life’s harder roads with broken relationships and forced alcohol rehab.
There were amusing glimpses of their relationship as when Andy found himself in Thailand where love seemed to bloom but when queried by his long-time pen pal, remained loudly silent to her requests for juicy details. As life would have it, they met later during one of her bouts with depression and carried on a torrid physical relationship which clutched Mellissa’s heart much more than his.
It wasn’t until the end when Andy’s letters were coming back unanswered at her passing did Andy realize how much he depended on and loved his lifelong script mate Melissa. The overall performance and effect of a lifelong relationship on paper was quite entertaining.
MC Ren Lexander then brought everyone up to date on current events. This was followed by the “Open Forum” portion of the meeting, where questions are asked and answered and comments made about expat living in Thailand. For more information on the Club and their activities, visit www.pcec.club.