Valentine’s Day is around the corner, I've just realized. If you’re also surprised by this news, maybe you don’t have anything planned. You can get in the spirit with a series produced by the Nashville Repertory Theater, Actually Love: Dramatic Readings of Historical Love Letters. Released one at a time on the Rep’s YouTube channel, the episodes in the series pair some of Nashville’s best actors with lovesick folks of yore. The first monologue, released yesterday and embedded below, features Rebekah Durham as the English poet Vita Sackville-West, whose letter to Virginia Woolf is gorgeous and moving.
The series includes loverboy Oscar Wilde, whose letter to Lord Alfred “Bosie” Douglas will be performed by DeVon Buchanan. Morgan Davis will perform a love letter from Napoleon Bonaparte to Joséphine de Beauharnais, which was penned two days after their wedding while the emperor was at war with Italy. Ludwig van Beethoven’s letter to his “immortal beloved” will be performed by Chip Arnold. Scene favorite Alicia Haymer will take on the role of Voltaire, who wrote to Olympe Dunover just before his escape from prison. Poet Lord Byron’s letter to Teresa Guiccioli — she was married, and not to him — will be performed by Eric Pasto-Crosby. Keep an eye on the Rep’s YouTube channel for more.
If, in the end, you require an antidote for so much love, check out Jennifer Wright’s fantastic It Ended Badly: Thirteen of the Worst Breakups in History. From the kinks of Emperor Nero to the misogyny of Norman Mailer, the book will make your worst break up look like tea time.