84, Charing Cross Road
One of the common laments of the internet age is that the art of letter writing has been cast aside as an archaic chore. But while the immediacy of a text message can maintain marginal connections, such quickly jotted notes lack the intimacy forged by private letters written expressly for another person. One particularly memorable friendship by mail was recounted by Helene Hanff in her book 84, Charing Cross Road. Hoping to order a rare title from a London bookstore, the New York-based Hanff wrote to the shop and initiated a correspondence with Frank Doel, the resident bibliophile. Though originally focused on a mutual love of literature, their letters would soon be filled with more personal details, leading to a long-distance friendship that spanned nearly two decades. Realizing the emotional potency of the relationship, playwright James Roose-Evans adapted Hanff's story for the stage, wisely maintaining an emphasis on the correspondence by having the performers read from the letters like alternating monologues that suggest our most poignant words sometimes go unsaid. Looking to express this underlying theme, Theatre in the Round Players' new adaptation casts Maggie Bearmon Pistner as Helene Hanff and Dann Peterson as Frank Doel. Under the veteran direction of Lynn Musgrave, 84, Charing Cross Road might just inspire audiences to pick up a pen. (Photo copyright Act One Too, Ltd.)
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: Nov. 16. Continues through Dec. 9, 2012
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