You can judge a letter by its cover. That could be the moral of "Please Write," storyteller Elizabeth Lord's one-woman show about the significance of letters - letters signed, sealed and delivered by a mail carrier. "Please Write" opens Thursday and will be seen for one weekend only.
“Letter writing can be a great creative outlet,” said Lord of Olympia. “You can make your envelope look a certain way. With electronic mail, people don’t often put pen to paper and write a letter, but when people receive a letter, they are overjoyed.”
Lord’s last one-woman show was “Las Vegas Childhood” last June.
“I started thinking about all of the occasions when I’ve sent or received significant letters,” she said.
One memorable example – with creative packaging – was a box that arrived in the mail from a college boyfriend during summer break. They’d parted friends at the end of spring term.
“I shook it, and it sounded like cereal, and it was about the size of a cereal box,” Lord said. “I unwrapped it, and it was a box of Crunchberries.”
She’d told him that was her favorite childhood cereal, but still, she thought it was strange that he mailed her a box of it.
“I thought, ‘No, there has to be something more,’ ” she said. “I reached my hand into the box, and inside was a letter.
“It was a love poem.”
Yes, they got back together in the fall. Such is the power of the pen.
“I do still write letters,” Lord said. “One thing that is really powerful are thank-you notes. A handwritten thank-you note is far superior to any verbal thank you or a thank you through e-mail.”
She’ll read some letters she’s received during the show, but that doesn’t mean every word she speaks will be strictly factual.
“I do put fiction in,” she said. “I figure that’s my license as a storyteller to embellish or invent as I see fit to make the story better.”
Any examples from past shows?
“I’m reluctant to reveal what exactly is fiction and what is true,” she said. “I like leaving that for the audience to decide.”
Besides creating one-woman shows, Lord is an actress and director, chiefly for Prodigal Sun Productions; the producer of “Lord Franzannian’s Royal Olympian Spectacular Vaudeville Show”; and the manager of the Midnight Sun. But storytelling, which she discovered while studying at The Evergreen State College, is her passion.
“She is a delightful and fearless storyteller,” said director and actress Pug Bujeaud of Olympia. “Armed only with her words, she manages to weave the most colorful of pictures. I love the fact that you never know what journey she is going to take you on from show to show.”