LETTERS OF SURESH – Written by Rajiv Joseph; Directed by Julie Rada. Produced by Curious Theatre Company (1080 Acoma, Denver) through December 9. Tickets available at 303-623-0524 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
These characters are obsessed with paper. They are either folding it, writing on it or reading from it. In a tale about a packet of letters trying to find a home, the audience is introduced to four characters interconnected, yet steeped in isolation. The story starts not with the writer of the letters but with someone who is trying to return them to the writer. Melody (Desiree Mee Jung) has inherited a blue box containing 10 or 12 letters written to a deceased uncle by a man named Suresh (Hossein Forouzandeh). She writes to him inquiring if he would like them returned and ends up spilling her own heart out. Despite not hearing back from him (because, as we learn later, he is not at his home currently), she continues writing and spilling. We next meet Suresh himself and hear him write the original letters to Father Hashimoto (Peter Trinh), the deceased uncle. One chance encounter at an origami conference in Nagasaki allowed Father Hashimoto to observe Suresh who was considered a boy wonder at folding the beautiful paper sculptures.
Hashimoto had written to Suresh in admiration for his skill which caused Suresh to write back and continue the paper conversation. The letters finally end back in Suresh’s home in the care of his friend Amelia who is awaiting his return. Now we know the origin of the letters and the meaning they have to all of the players.
During this epic back and forth journey of written missives, we follow the growth of each of the four characters’ connection. Both Suresh and Hashimoto have love stories to tell; the women have confessions as well; we are drawn in by the intricately told stories as delicate as the created paper birds that adorn the set. A wall sized projection screen provides a soothing backdrop of Japanese symbols, scrawled English, minimalist flowers, and gently rolling ocean waves. As delicate as a cherry blossom and as soothing as a Zen Garden, each player gets to express their story quietly, without undue drama even when the story involves an event as horrendous as the bombing of Japan in WWII. Both humor and regrets are present but are given an authentic treatment.
Playwright Joseph introduced the character of Suresh in a previous production called ANIMALS OUT OF PAPER and continues his journey in LETTERS. Why do I have the feeling we haven’t seen the last of Suresh and that his story isn’t finished?
A WOW factor of 8.25!