|Josh Peyton and Sarah Schrader|
Dear Jack, Dear Louise is a love story told through the time-treasured medium of letters. Based on the real-life letters written by the playwright’s parents, it is a heartwarming show about two people who found their person and persevered across all odds to be with them.
Describe Louise. What do you find most interesting about her?
SS. Louise does not fit into any box you could try to put her in. She’s sweet, she’s brash, she loves people, she’s very funny, and she’s courageous. I think that’s the one that sticks out the most to me. She opens her heart to this boy on the other end of these letters before ever meeting him or even seeing his face, this boy who is an army doctor during one of the worst wars in history. Throughout all the training and the battles and the terrible things Jack is going through, she is there to listen to him. She is in such a helpless position when it comes to all the things Jack is dealing with, and yet she doesn’t give up. There is a specific type of courage people had to have on the home front, and boy, did she have it in spades.
Q. What aspect of Louise do you relate to most?
SS. I like to think we are both equally funny, but that may be optimistic on my part. She’s an actress, and being an actress myself, I can of course relate to the auditions that go south and the ones that go well, but especially the desire to share what happens with others. She has no qualms with telling Jack everything, often in the most dramatic way possible, and my roommates from college will probably tell you that I have much the same tendency. Louise is also a dancer, a very good dancer, and while I am not a very good dancer, I do enjoy occasionally boogie-ing down, particularly at weddings or on slow Saturday mornings. (Again, my roommates will tell you – when Sarah asks for a dance party, it’s best to quickly pick a spot and stay there, because she needs the whole floor.)
Can I say every line? The show is just so doggone cute it’s impossible to pick a favorite!
There’s a really wide emotional range throughout the show. I’ve never played a character that goes through what might be every single emotion there is, but Louise pretty much does, and that is a challenge. It’s a big challenge! It leaves you exhausted in the best way by the end of the show.
Q. What has been the most rewarding part of this production?
SS. Can I say everything? Even though the wide emotional range is a challenge, it is so rewarding. I do a lot of things in this show I’ve never had to do before, so there has been a lot of growth for me as an actress. Louise is a dream role for me – I couldn’t have written a part I would want to play more if I tried – and I am still somewhat in shock that I get to tell this story every night. But also, this is my first production at OCP! So being able to meet and work with Susie (Director) and Anna (Assistant Director) and Josh (Jack) and Paige (Stage Manager) and the amazing technical staff has been wonderful. They welcomed me with open arms, and I am just so grateful for this opportunity.
What can audiences expect from Dear Jack, Dear Louise?
SS. To use the tissues they brought with them! You will laugh, you will cry, and you will love being immersed in the early 1940s. Also, there’s something so special and fresh about the staging of this play; it is something surprisingly beautiful for the time we are in right now. There is something so relatable to the relationship these two built while they were far away from each other, and considering the last year and a half what we’ve all had to experience, I think that will be the unexpected part of this production that people will be able to relate to. As much as war changes things and as much as the pandemic changed things, it can’t conquer the human spirit, and it can’t conquer love.