‘Love Letters’ raises $2,500 for SIUE theater scholarship and the Wildey

Growing together and growing apart through relationships with friends and lovers are a recurring theme in just about everyone’s life.

That’s what made the play “Love Letters,” written by A. R. Gurney, a perfect choice for Peter Cocuzza and Kate Motley when deciding on a play the two could perform together. Cocuzza, chair of the theater and dance department at SIUE and Motley, the drama director at Edwardsville High School, performed that play at the Wildey Theater Saturday.

Peter Cocuzza, chair of SIUE's theater and dance department

The duo had become friends through their working professions and the relationship SIUE has with the local high school. They immediately began discussing a play they should perform together for fun and, more than four years later, finally got the time from the busy theater life to do so.

Cocuzza and Motley decided the show should be a benefit for an Edwardsville High School student who would enroll in SIUE’s theater and dance department after graduation. After all, the money raised would reflect the beneficial coexistence of the two schools.

“We’re always helping the high school and the high school always supports us,” Cocuzza said. “So there’s a nice synergistic relationship between the two schools and programs.”

Cocuzza had hoped that at least $2,000 would be raised at the performance for the scholarship, which would most likely be distributed over a few years to the winning student. The rest would be donated to the Wildey.  The performance drew more than 100 people in attendance and raised $2,500.

“Its ultimately very beneficial and it’s like a win-win-win-win,” Cocuzza said. “A student wins, the department wins, the high school wins and the Wildey wins because they get some extra money.”

“Love Letters” is a two-person play that highlights the exchange of letters over the course of the life of a man and woman who have been friends since they were little. Over time, the characters are torn apart and brought back together repeatedly because of many unforeseen circumstances.

Kate Motley, drama director at Edwardsville High School

“It’s kind of interesting these days with technology — everybody’s texting,” Cocuzza said. “It’s not the same to tweet as it is to sit down with a pen in your hand and write some long letter to somebody expressing your feelings and emotions. The content in a lot of what (the characters) say in their letters, people can relate to.”

The Wildey Theater continues to accept any sort of donations outside of any benefits of this kind. More information can be found at its website, www.wildeytheater.com. 



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