Letters From the Inside," a 1991 epistolary novel for young adults by Australian author John Marsden, has now been turned into a two-character play by the same name. Adapted and directed by Robert Armin, Letters From the Inside will get a staged reading Sept. 14 at Off-Off Broadway's The Producers Club, with hopes for a small-scale production to follow this season.
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. Jeanine Bartel (Mandy) and Laura Heisler (Tracey) play the two women.
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 information on the Sept. 14, 7 PM reading of Letters From the Inside call (212) 582-4362. Tickets are free but reservations are necessary. -- By David Lefkowitz