"A wonderful show." - NBC's Today
"A tear-jerking, hand-clapping, mind-blowing stroll through history." - The Shreveport Times
From the Author
Standing Os. Cheers. People coming up to me and shaking my hand, saying thank you, telling me what my play meant to them. Face to face. Night after night.
We seldom get that response with our books. Perhaps at a book signing. Or when somebody writes a particularly flattering review. With my play Letters From The Front, I got it after every performance, year after year, all over the world.
I wish every writer was able to experience that. After releasing my one (and so far, only) novel Unthinkable Consequences, I've often wondered how people responded when they read it. A few have been kind enough to leave enthusiastic reviews, but that was after they'd read the entire book and had time to analyze their feelings toward the work.
It's very different with a play. The reaction is spontaneous and continuous. Night after night I sat in the dark with hundreds of others and watched and listened to their reaction while the performance was in progress. A laugh here, a tear there, a gasp, a groan, shuffling in their seats when their attention wasn't being held completely, leaning forward when it was.
Do people react that way while they read our books? No doubt they do. We're just not there to see it. Its been hard for me to get used to that.
To me Letters From The Front is summed up by a statement made by lead character Katharine Hartgrove near the end of Act I:
"To me, this play isn't about individual wars or the politics behind them or who was right or who was wrong. It's about the fragile and precious nature of life. It's about everyday people who suddenly came face to face with their own mortality, or the prospect of losing a loved one. It's about people reaching out to each other, maybe for the last time. Each of these letters was affirmation on the part of the writer that at their darkest moment they were not alone."
Couldn't have said it better myself. It's about people, what's in their hearts, who they love, how they deal with life's adversities. At the core is a conflict of massive proportions - World War II. Millions are thrown into the conflagration. But Letters From the Front focusses on just two people as they struggle to understand, adjust, put events into some sort of meaningful perspective, and discover the depth of their love for each other.
Maybe the song As Time Goes By captures the sentiment best: "It's still the same old story, a fight for love and glory."