The voices of celebrities, from President Teddy Roosevelt to punk rocker Patti Smith – and everyone in between – have been given new life this week as the Arts of the Pamlico Community Players honed the original 2019 play to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
Nineteen actors and actresses have become the faces and voices of celebrities, including William Shakespeare, Ludwig von Beethoven, author Jane Eyre, actress Catherine Hepburn, poetess Elizabeth Barrett Brown, Queen Victoria and others. Also included were letters written by two members of the cast – one of whom caught her husband by surprise.
“Once everyone read the ones they’re going to show, we realized that all these letters from years ago are the same thing we’re recording now,” said director Ethan Wolfe, who has been the theater director at Turnage for just under a year. . “Love Letters” is the first play he staged since graduating from ECU in May 2021. He said the efforts of his 19 actors are in line with the dedication he has invested in his goal of reviving Turnage’s reputation before the pandemic as an arts center in Beaufort County and beyond.
“As soon as we started working on the letters chosen for the show, two of our participants asked if they could read the letters written by their family members. It was one of the breakthroughs that were scattered throughout the rehearsal process. Actors will read the letters assigned to them and understand that the letters correspond to what was happening in their lives. It was unlucky, ”Wolff said, adding that even the technical aspect was part of identifying the actors with their roles. “The costumes that Jeff (Phipps) chose for our actors were almost entirely in line with the wardrobes worn by the characters they portrayed and projected behind them as they read these letters.”
Wolf praised Phipps as much as his actors. “We couldn’t have done it without Jeff,” he said of Phipps, who is over 20 years old and currently serves as executive director as well as artistic director of the theater. “Jeff has so much wisdom and experience. He sat in the auditorium and passed on historical information that would fully reveal the vision of who the actors are playing. And for some reason he knows for sure what will be suitable for an actor or actress, without even finding out their size first, ”Wolff said.
Wolff said he couldn’t be happier about “Love Letters” and although the date is not yet set for the next AOP / Turnage proposal, he intends to “build this public theater, focus on making a really high quality production and return this part of our artistic heritage to Beaufort County. ”