What’s in a letter?

Mohamed (Adam) Adamaly and Tracy Holsinger give their take on days gone by when letter writing with its share of excitement was the norm, as they prepare once again to perform A. R. Gurney’s Pulitzer Prize winning drama, Love Letters
By Tahnee Hopman

Where do love letters fit in amidst texting, IM’s, tweets and Facebook posts? “They relate to a simpler, more nostalgic time,” reflects Tracy Holsinger. Harking back to a time when communication took the form of letters, A. R. Gurney’s Pulitzer Prize winning drama performed by Mohamed (Adam) Adamaly and Tracy Holsinger, and once again presented by the Performing Arts Company- will take the stage of the British School Auditorium on February 12 and 13 at 7.30 p.m.

Like her character Melissa Gardner, Tracy has never believed in letter writing. “There is always a sense of artificiality,” she explains. “When you write a letter you present the best version of yourself; and when you finally meet the person you write to, it can be hard to gel. To an extent this is what happens in the case of Melissa and Andrew.”

The appeal of Love Letters then, lies in the poignancy of an enduring friendship and consequent romance between two unlikely people.

Pix by M. A . Pushpa Kumara

Childhood friends Melissa Gardner and Andrew Makepeace Ladd III begin a friendship with a few polite invitations and thank you notes- a correspondence which continues for the next 60 years.

From childhood birthday parties to the awkward teens and growing up years, and beyond, their friendship evolves, erodes and survives. Melissa and Andrew are soul mates, interlinked to each other and always, at the very least, honest with each other about themselves.

Their friendship gets complicated by their numerous and sometimes not so successful attempts to date each other and survive their marriages to different people and the very different paths their lives, careers and loves take them.

Their circumstances, achievements, trials and tribulations strike an immediate chord with the audience, and many see aspects of their own lives replayed in the characters of Melissa and Andrew.

“There was a time when I would write a lot of letters,” recalls Adam nostalgically. “Overseas calls were prohibitively expensive and before I was married most of my correspondence with Nadira (his wife) was through letters.”

“Many people in the audience would also be able to relate to the sort of emotion they used to put into letters,” adds director Nafeesa Amirudeen,“ and that feeling of anticipation in waiting for a reply to a letter you have written. I think that the main reason for the decline of letter writing was the process of stamping and posting.”

The script of Love Letters was first read by The Performing Arts Company in 1994. “We decided that it was best to wait a while before performing this drama,” says Nafeesa. “We felt that the audience was not quite ready for it.”

“At the time,” elaborates Adam, “there wasn’t much happening in the local drama scene, and the audience appreciated drama for its entertainment value.

But now the core audience is very mature and this genre of drama would go down well.”

The play is sponsored by NDB Bank, and proceeds will be directed to charity through Colombo Taprobane Round Table 3 towards their internationally recognized community service project, Kids off the Street, awarded as one of the best projects in Round Table Asia region.

Produced by Mohamed Adamaly and Nadira Adamaly, tickets for the show are available at

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