In each newsletter, we’d like to take a moment to spotlight a volunteer who makes our theatre productions possible! Dodie Ripon-Lovett is the director of Love Letters. A resident of Dalmatia, she studied English & Theatre at Bucknell University under the late Prof. Harvey Powers and has been seen performing with Valley Players, Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble, Lycoming College, and more.
RS: When did you first get interested in theatre?
DL: My family was full of musicians and performers, so I come by it naturally. But when I was 8 years old, I saw The Tempest on T.V. and I was fascinated. I didn’t understand it, but the next day I told the school bus driver I was going to be an actress!
RS: What are some of your favorite past projects?
DL: I think the most memorable roles are always the hardest roles, the ones that you work the most for. At Bucknell, I played Rosalind in As You Like It (and my grades in biology class suffered for it). I’ve played Shirley Valentine [a one-woman show], I’ve done Shakespeare in the Park, I’ve played Mary Todd Lincoln. I also used to do improvisation workshops at senior centers in Union County, which was great fun. I remember one 80-year old woman who was wearing a shawl during a summer workshop and I asked her, “Don’t you want to take that off? Aren’t you hot?” She said, “No, it’s a part of my character—I think it makes me look older!” Now that was dedication!
RS: Tell us more about your next show, Love Letters.
DL: What’s nice about this show is that the structure is so simple—two people reading letters—but that allows the language, the spoken word, and the art that live performers bring to that language to really shine through. We get to see these two people grow, change, grow closer together and farther apart, and we know them better than they know themselves because we see their whole lives at once. There’s a saying, “life is what happens when you’re making other plans,” and that’s what we, the audience, witness with these two complex people. Everyone’s life experiences are unique, obviously, but we all share that journey and everyone can see themselves in parts of this story.