Cotuit Center for the Arts will present Dr. Waldo Fielding and Pam McArdle in “Love Letters” by A. R. Gurney on Sunday, April 29, at 3 PM. The event is a special benefit performance for the arts center.
“Love Letters” is a play in the form of letters exchanged between Melissa Gardner (McArdle) and Andrew Makepeace Ladd, III (Dr. Fielding) over the course of nearly 50 years. They discuss the hopes and ambitions, dreams and disappointments, victories and defeats that they have experienced throughout their separated lives.
The two veteran actors performed the play together a number of times, including four previous sold-out benefits for Cotuit Center for the Arts.
“Love Letters,” which was written in 1988 and nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, is told through the notes, letters, and cards that they sent to each other over the years, beginning in kindergarten.
Pam and I sit next to each other at separate tables, never looking at each other. It’s a tough play to perform because of the powerful emotions, but that is what makes it so good
“It is a magnificently constructed and beautifully written play, which makes it a pleasure to perform,” said Dr. Fielding. “The characters age together, in different ways. It’s very real stuff, the contrast between these two lives. It is impossible for them to separate, and yet they can’t make a life together.”
“Pam and I sit next to each other at separate tables, never looking at each other. It’s a tough play to perform because of the powerful emotions, but that is what makes it so good,” he said.
Dr. Fielding describes Makepeace as an “upright Republican senator,” who is “a good guy with beautiful instincts who wants to help the country.”
Dr. Fielding has been acting since his college days and throughout his 45 years as a noted physician, but never studied acting. “I always knew I could act,” he said. “I had to study to be a doctor.”
He has performed in over 70 productions throughout New England, including twice as Willy Loman in “Death of a Salesman,” his favorite role. A retired OBGYN physician, professor, author and former TV and radio spokesperson, he now divides his time between Brookline and Cape Cod. He met Pam McArdle years ago when she directed him in a play.
Pam McArdle is retired from the Performing Arts Department at Milton Academy, where she taught drama for over 20 years. She has directed, performed in, and choreographed many community theater productions in the Milton area. The play, she says, evokes a time gone by. “I love the simplicity of human emotions as expressed through letters,” McArdle said. “It is a lost art.”