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‘Love Letters’ to be staged at Holmes

Sharon and Jim Sinclair will be featured in the local production of ‘Love Letters.”

Looking for a romantic way to spend an October evening? The Historic Holmes Theatre can make it happen.

Local community theater group Summit Productions will be presenting the Pulitzer Prize-nominated play, “Love Letters,” this Thursday and Friday at the theater.

Performance times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, with a special matinee performance at 2 p.m. Friday as well.

Written by A.R. Gurney, and presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc., New York, N.Y., “Love Letters” tells the story of a 50-year relationship between two childhood friends, as revealed through the cards, notes and letters they wrote to each other.

To add a bit of poignancy to the story, the actors cast in the roles of Melissa Gardener-Cobb and Andrew Makepeace Ladd III are a real-life married couple — Detroit Lakes’ own Jim and Sharon Sinclair.

Both familiar faces on the local community theater scene, the Sinclairs presented the same play more than 15 years ago, when they were part of the now-defunct community theater group Playhouse 412 (from which Summit Productions was later formed).

“It was at The Fireside,” Jim Sinclair said of that earlier production. “We had three different couples (performing) at three different places.”

That tied in with the tradition of the play, Sharon Sinclair said, noting that since it was first performed in New York City back in 1988, “It has been done by so many different actors, in so many different settings.”

That was part of the reason why the play appealed to local actor/director Rick Kratzke, who is helming this weekend’s production.

“It’s a two-person, no-set show,” he said, noting that the only props on the set are the tables and chairs where they sit, and the letters they read. “It was one that fit easily into the Holmes’ production schedule.

“But it’s such a beautiful piece,” he continued. “Letters are something we’re not used to anymore.”

In this age of “instant communication” via cell phones, Twitter and Facebook, “We can get in touch with anyone, at any time,” he added.

But letters are a form of communication that require thought, and take time to create.

“Letters are one of those things that’s almost a lost art,” said Kratzke.

And the playwright, A.R. Gurney, had such an intimate knowledge of the social class where the story is set — New England’s upper crust — that it gave the story real authenticity.

“It’s about the relationship between two people who are thrown together as children, because they both come from privileged, East Coast WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) families,” said Jim Sinclair. “They keep in touch because their parents pushed them together — but they become friends because they each recognize something in the other that they lack, or something they admire in them.”

“She thinks he’s stuffy, and he thinks she’s wild,” Sharon Sinclair said. “They kind of pull and push at each other.”

“They complement each other, even though they’re very different people,” Jim Sinclair added.

“It’s one of those plays that I’ve wanted to direct for years,” Kratzke said, “because it’s basically focal acting, which is one of my ‘soap box’ things as a director, and actor … the way people express themselves vocally is everything.”

Tickets for “Love Letters” are $12 for adults, $6 for students, and are available online at, by calling 218-844-SHOW (7469) or at the Holmes Theatre Box Office, 806 Summit Ave., Detroit Lakes.

The play is part of the theater’s BTD Community Connections series, and is one of two that will be presented by Summit Productions during the 2013-14 season at the Holmes Theatre.

The second is “Gladys in Wonderland,” to be presented in February; auditions are set for Nov. 21 and 23. Contact the Holmes Box Office at 218-844-7469 or for more information. Backstage and technical opportunities are also available.

Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454