Robert W. Komendera, writer and director of the drama “Fan Mail,” wanted to hear his play read out loud before he committed to a full-production of his thriller.
“I had six people read it, and they were all quite surprised about some of the things in it, especially the ending,” he said. “I wanted to hear their reactions to it, and I wanted to see if I thought it was good enough to put on."
Making its world premiere Saturday and Sunday at Michigan City’s Footlight Theatre, “Mail” is the tale of Gayle Hart, a renowned stage thesp, whose life and relations with personal and professional peers is strained when an obsessed fan, Lawrence Biggs, inundates her with correspondence.
Komendera was inspired to put pen to paper for “Mail” approximately eight years ago from two sources: “The Fan,” a 1981 big screen thriller starring Lauren Bacall and it’s 1977 fiction tome penned by Bob Randall, and the play “Love Letters,” which Komendera has directed.
While set in present day, Komendera wanted to stick with letter writing as the play’s primary means of communication from its antagonist.
“Soon, I think, there’s not going to be any more letter writing, and I thought ‘before it dies out completely (as a means of communication) I wanted to make sure I got it put on stage,’” Komendera said. “I’m a big letter writer and I enjoy getting letters in the mail. I don’t like getting birthday cards online. I like to get a birthday card I can actually hold.”
Laura Meyer is Hart and Alexander Bonner is Biggs in Footlight’s “Mail.” They are joined onstage by Thom Nelson as Hart’s ex-husband, Mike, Emma Blanchard as her underling, Eve, and Joe Blanchard and Bobbi-Ann Lauritzen as friends Paul and Celeste, respectively.
“I have a great six people doing this, and to me they’re the finest in the area,” Komendera said. “They’re all just doing it because I asked them to, and that’s very nice.”
Due to minor adult situations, “Fan Mail” may not be appropriate for young or sensitive audiences.
Next up for Footlight Theatre is a production of the musical “Annie,” slated to open April 6.