On April 12, American Space Leipzig used theater for the first time to promote its mission to encourage learning, exchange, and dialogue between the United States and Germany. Around 25 guests joined the performance of A.R. Gurney’s prize-winning play “Love Letters” with actors Peter Seaton-Clark and Heather Metje. The event was held at the Albertina Library’s Lecture Hall.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“Love Letters” is a story of great American expectations. In it the role of wealth, status, and facades blend together. The play tells the story of Andy Makepeace Ladd and Melissa Gardner who grew up in the so-called WASP (White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant) society where playing by predetermined rules lies at its core. The play is composed of letters written between Andy and Melissa and follows their correspondence from 1937 until the late 1980’s.

That way, the play alludes to issues of social elitism, and the intersection of wealth and political influence in American society. Families such as the Rockefellers, the Roosevelts, the Vanderbilts, and the Bush Family stem from the WASP society. Current president Donald J. Trump does as well.

The play was written in the 1980’s and originated in A.R. Gurney being asked to give a speect about WASPs at the New York Public Library. Not wanting to do that he suggested he would read a draft of a piece he was working on together with an actress. The reading was so successful that it moved into the theaters in theatrical form and later became a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in 1988. The performance by actors Peter Seaton-Clark and Heather Metje was presented as it was intended by Gurney; just a man and a woman sitting and reading their letters out loud.

Although the actors did not use any scenery, only reading the protagonists’ exchange of letters, the audience was eagerly following every word and thoroughly enjoyed the actors’ brilliant performance.

If you are interested in American Theater, we are looking for interested students to actively take part future theater productions with American Space Leipzig. If you want to get involved or know more about our American Theater Initiative, please write to americanspace@uni-leipzig.de.

Peter Seaton-Clark has worked as an actor, voice artist and presenter for over 20 years in the UK and Germany. His career started in theatre in 1993 at the world famous Leeds City Varieties and his latest TV work “Der Traum von der neuen Welt” for LOOKSfilm will air on arte and NDR in France and Germany later this year.

Heather Metje studied drama at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and performed with numerous theater companies and in film before coming to Germany. At University of Leipzig’s Institüt für Theaterwissenschaft she submitted a dissertation about theater created in Buchenwald KZ and hopes to be awarded her doctorate this fall. She can also be seen in Schauspiel Leipzig’s production of Orchesterprobe, which premiers later this month.