Feeling the Love at Guild Hall, One Letter at a Time

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Tyler Winthrop adds her own love note to wall of Love Notes posted on the wall of the John Drew Theater as Sabrina Ricci looks on on Tuesday, 2/20/18, during the rehearsal of director Josh Gladstone's production of "Romeo and Juliet." Michael Heller photo

Lovers from all over the world converge on the street of 23 Via Capello in Verona, Italy, to post love notes on the wall below “Juliet’s Balcony” — a 1930s addition to the wall of a house that was reputedly home to the Capulet family, of Shakespeare fame, in the 14th century.

And Raye Levine hopes lovers from all over the East End will converge on Guild Hall in East Hampton to stick love letters on Post-It Notes on the walls ahead of the opening of “Romeo and Juliet” on March 14.

Love is “so infectious, so contagious,” said Ms. Levine, who has designed the sets for the upcoming Guild Hall production, and who came up with the idea of creating the wall of love notes in the John Drew Theater. “When we started putting those love notes up on the wall, everyone got really excited about the themes in the show. I thought that everyone could speak to their own respective Romeo and/or Juliet … just so that people remember that the crux of the show is about love.”

People of all ages can stop by Guild Hall during its regular gallery and box office hours to write a love letter on a Post-It and stick it up on the walls. They can also do love notes during other Guild Hall events. Post-Its in every color of the rainbow, along with markers and pens, are in the lobby awaiting the love.

Ms. Levine said she was further inspired by a similar wave of Post-It note letters posted to the wall in the New York City subway following the 2016 presidential election.

“This is a time when we need to get together and express love, not hate,” she said. “There were letters of concern and love and fear and all sorts of things, but it was an act of protest after the election. The city saved a lot of those Post-Its, over 500,000 of them on the subway wall. There was an accumulation of a lot of ideas.”

There’s already a distinctly urban, graffiti-inspired look to some of the sets and projection-based images in Guild Hall’s upcoming version of “Romeo and Juliet,” which is being produced and directed by veteran director Josh Gladstone.

“I think it’s a fabulous idea,” Mr. Gladstone said. “I love it because it’s very much in alignment with what we’re doing with this particular production. It’s an immersive, contemporary, freewheeling take on the play. We tell it all over the theater.”

He cited the community love note outreach as an example of the innovative, collaborative creativity that will allow live theater in general to thrive.

“In order for theater to remain relevant these days, there’s an effort to do all sorts of things beyond traditional presentation because we’re competing with digital media, film, Netflix and eight million other things,” Mr. Gladstone said. “What is it that theater can do to stay competitive? Theater can help create real community in the real world and real connection. People are responding to that.”

For information on Guild Hall’s box office and gallery hours and other events, visit guildhall.org, call (631) 324-0806 or email info@guildhall.org.

A detail of the Love Notes posted on the wall of the John Drew Theater at Guild Hall. Michael Heller photo

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