‘Love Letters’ celebrates the bonds of friendship

By Jason A. Smith
Times Correspondent

On the heels of Valentine’s Day, love is still in the air, thanks to a touching story that is being played out on stage.

Lynna Schmidt and Rob Raissle are starring in a production of Love Letters. Special photo

The Henry Arts Alliance has joined forces with the Academy Theatre in Stockbridge to produce “Love Letters,” a comedy starring Alliance President Lynna Schmidt and Rob Raissle.

The play, which is in its second week, will continue Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m., at the Hapeville Performing Arts Center, located at 599 N. Central Avenue in Hapeville. Additional performances are set for Feb. 28 at 8 p.m., and March 1 at 2 p.m., at the Stockbridge Community Arts Center, 146 Burke St.

The play, written by A.R. Gurney, tells the story of two long-time friends, Andrew and Melissa, and how their bond carries them through the struggles of a changing world, says Schmidt.

“These two meet in third grade, and they become fast friends right away,” says Schmidt, of Jonesboro. “It’s really their friendship in letters. It’s comedy, it’s drama, it’s a really lovely piece of theater. It’s a really deep and wonderful friendship. They know each other so well, and they know they are each other’s best friend.”

The play is performed entirely through a series of letters written by Andrew and Melissa. Schmidt says she and Raissle first assumed the roles 19 years ago, and that the story parallels their own friendship..

“Rob and I are very very close friends,” says Schmidt. “We trust each other on stage implicitly. We just have an amazing rhythm as actors together.”

Raissle, of McDonough, chimed in as well, saying he always enjoys performing “Love Letters” on stage with Schmidt.

“It’s simply two people sitting at a desk and remembering and talking about all those letters they wrote to each other all those years,” says Raissle. “This is such a unique format, and Lynna and I work so well together. We just always clicked. Being on stage together, it’s a pleasure. It’s easy, it’s comfortable, and anytime we have a chance to act together we do it -- kind of like Bogey and Bacall.”

Schmidt and Raissle say audiences for the play thus far have included people who first saw the play together 19 years ago and wanted to revisit the experience.

Tickets are available online at brownpapertickets.com/producer/20154. Admission is $15 in advance or $20 at the door.