Monday 4 September 2023

Celebrating love and human connection with Love Letters (Melbourne Fringe Festival)

The art of writing letters is very much a rarity these days. We might send each other lengthy emails or texts, but putting a pen to paper and handwriting our thoughts and experiences to then post to someone doesn't happen anymore. But this is not the case in Love Letters. Presented as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival, Love Letters follows the lives of a man and a woman from their childhood to adulthood through decades of correspondence sharing their growth, fears, successes, failures and loves.

Fini Liu, in the dual roles of playing the male character and directing the work, was attracted to the obstacles that this work presented. "What drew me to the work is how extremely authentic and sincere piece it is. We also need to tell the story of two people spanning 40 years within just an hour so it was a challenge to be able to deliver this while allowing the characters and the story to breathe and be fully realised.

Given its candid and simple exploration of a relationship between two people, Liu has also parred back on the stagecraft and direction. "When I started preparing, my first thought was that the play should rely on the audience's imagination for its completion. Thus, the audience's involvement is critical for this success, so if we can achieve this, then that's 90% of our job done," he says.

"For this performance, I collaborated with my long-time friend, Angel Xiao. When I came across Love Letters, she was the first person that came to mind, because I felt she was perfect for the role. She showed an immense passion for the character and narrative after reading the script and it
solidified my decision to cast her. This passion is vital for this production. It can assist the actors when faced with challenges during the creative process and the enthusiasm from the stage can resonate deeply with those watching."

"Having said that, I'm not entirely sure if today's audience would be interested in such a story," Liu confesses. "The pace of societal development is extraordinarily fast nowadays and the number of people who can sit in a theatre and quietly enjoy a play for an hour that relies heavily on words without flashy design or dramatic plot twists, seems to be dwindling. However, I hope we are proven wrong and encounter these audiences in our show and meet them afterwards in the theatre!"

The overarching theme of Love Letters is that about love in its various forms. So does Liu believe in love at first sight or the idea of soulmates? "I believe that attraction between people involves a lot of subconscious choices and expressions. I feel this is one aspect our play is exploring," he explains. "It's always fascinating to try and understand how two individuals can have such a deep connection. Love Letters is for anyone who has ever encountered someone like that in their life or someone who just wants to understand this phenomenon."


1) My favourite meal is ...
well, I eat almost the same food every day. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be chicken and rice.
2) A TV show I would like to be cast in is
one I watched on Netflix last year. It's a Korean physical competition program called Physical 100. I'm particularly interested because I work part-time as a fitness instructor.
3) A little known skill I have is
I can stick to eating the same food for roughly ten years, having virtually the same meal every single day.
4) My proudest professional moment is
every time I put my whole heart and soul into the rehearsal.
5) Happiness is

Show Details

Venue: Trades Hall, Cnr Lygon & Victoria Sts, Carlton
Season: 11 - 22 October | Wed - Sat 7:30pm, Sun 6:30pm
Duration: 60 minutes
Tickets: $35 Full | $25 Concession | $26.25 Hump Day Discount (Wednesday)
Bookings: Melbourne Fringe Festival

Image credit: Sinya Li

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