Theater By the Book to present Dear Elizabeth in Nevada City |

Theater By the Book to present Dear Elizabeth in Nevada City

Submitted to The Union

On Wednesday, Sierra Stages and the Miners Foundry will present Dear Elizabeth, as part of Theater By the Book, a series of informal play readings for the community.

Written by Sarah Ruhl and directed by Sands Hall, Dear Elizabeth is a different kind of love story, of artists and friends, and told through the extensive correspondence between two of the 20th century's most celebrated poets, Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell.

"In Dear Elizabeth, Sarah Ruhl creates a spellbinding, romantically charged, and deeply inspiring evening," said Hall. "It's about love in many forms, and across many years, and above all about the joys — and necessity — of friendship. It's a perfect way to spend Valentine's Day."

Ruhl, an acclaimed playwright, professor, and essayist, intended to be a poet, but was persuaded in college to pursue playwriting. She has since had two of her plays finalists for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and has also received a nomination for Tony Award for Best Play. Dear Elizabeth is the second Ruhl play to be performed during Theater By the Book.

"Ruhl's plays are challenging, but also very entertaining — I mean "entertainment" in terms of humor: she can be very funny; but also for the other reasons we love to be entertained: we get to leave behind our own concerns and live for a time in some other world," said Hall. "She makes you think — often long after the play is over — but for the time you're watching, it's all about the compelling characters and situations — and the marvelous dialogue."

This is Hall's third time directing for Theater By the Book, something she "loves" to do. She is best known locally for her work with the Foothill Theater Company and is a popular teacher, leading workshops and lectures for such conferences as the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley and the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. 

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When not writing, directing or performing, Hall spends the fall semesters as an Associate Teaching Professor of English and Creative Writing at Franklin & Marshall College, in Lancaster, PA. She recently completed her memoir "FLUNK.START.: Reclaiming My Decade Lost in Scientology" which comes out in March.

Actors Trish Adair and Jon Enos bring Ruhl's script alive, reading the parts of Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, and Lindsay Dunckel takes on Ruhl's captivating, if brief, sometimes surreal stage directions.

"I love these readings," said Hall. "When you have actors who know what they're doing, and a little bit of rehearsal, the scripts disappear from the actors' hands, and, even without a lot of staging or ornate sets and costumes, the play seems to unfold as if all of those elements are present. It's such a gift!"

Source: Theater By the Book


WHO: Sierra Stages and Miners Foundry Cultural Center present Theater By the Book: Dear Elizabeth

WHEN: Wednesday, doors open at 7 p.m., show starts at 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Miners Foundry Cultural Center, 325 Spring Street, Nevada City

TICKETS: $10 Suggested Donation, Tickets are available online at, by phone 530-265-5040 or in person at the Miners Foundry, or at the door.


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