"Letters From the Inside," a 1991 epistolary novel for young adults by Australian author John Marsden, has been turned into a two-character play of the same name. Adapted and directed by Robert Armin, Letters From the Inside received an off-off-Broadway staging, Oct. 13-24, at the New 42nd Street Theatre and will now get a return engagement at that space, Nov. 30-Dec. 5. A staged reading of the play was held, Sept. 14, at the Producers Club.
According to Armin, the play tells of a (seemingly) typical American teenage girl who becomes pen pals with an Australian girl her age. Both appear to have idyllic lives, only we eventually discover Mandy, the American girl, is terrified by her violent, weapons-hoarding brother, and Tracey, the Australian girl, is herself a victim of family violence and has already been incarcerated for venting her own rage.
As in the recent reading, Jeanine Bartel (Mandy) and Laura Heisler (Tracey) play the two women. Tim Golebiewski has designed the set and lighting.
Armin, who started thinking about adapting Marsden's novel since it was published in the U.S. in 1994, has also dramatized several Harlan Ellison short stories as Stalking the Nightmare. Other credits include staging the world premiere of the Steve Allen-based revue, Side by Side by Seymour Glick and penning the musical comedy (stage-read at CT's Goodspeed), Madly in Love.
Armin told Playbill On-Line, "Most shows aimed at teenagers are loud, rock-oriented shows -- this one utilizes the utter simplicity of the human voice and imagination to hold the attention." For tickets ($12) and information on Letters From the Inside, produced by Charles Luxenberg, call (212) 582-0241.
-- By David Lefkowitz