by Jon-Robin Baitz
Written and produced in 2004, Paris Letter couldn't be more relevant today. With the current economic disaster, reports of political corruption and the outcry against same-sex marriage, this play is right on the mark! That said, it is not a political or an issue play; it's an examination of human beings in financially powerful positions who are also consumed by repressive relationships and devastating personal conflict.
Sandy Sonnenberg, a high-powered finance man, has shut out his impulse to love and have a sexual life with another man. In the 40-year span of the play, he maintains a loving and platonic marriage in order to assimilate himself into a monied success. His struggling duel/love is Anton Kilgallen, who has reveled in a sensual life of
fucking, boozing, and living in gentle civility.
Sadly, Anton is now in his latter years and goes home alone every night. While he comes to terms with this solitary existence of dread, fear, and the emptiness of dying alone, Sandy rives himself with despair and guilt. The fallout: suicide, murder, and financial ruin.
In the words of Mr. Baitz,
My characters tend to live in guilt and rancor over their contorted rationalizations, their diminution of power and grace. They tend to live in disappointment at the shocking extent of their failure. And thus the play!
Cast: 5 men, 1 woman.
Scenes/Monologues: I recommend this play for a very good read and for its opportunity for young and mid-aged actors and actresses. Sandy and Anton are two wonderful male roles and their
flash-back scenes are excellent for two younger actors. The final Anton monologue is a knockout!
Recommended by: Bill