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‘Love Letters’ for AIDS

Atkinson to star.


ATKINSON: At Easy Street.
  • ATKINSON: At Easy Street.

Ashlie Atkinson, who makes her movie debut in Spike Lee’s “The Inside Man” in March and who just wrapped up a Showtime pilot with Isabella Rossellini, decided with friends at Easy Street piano bar one evening last week to put on a play in Little Rock — starting today, Thursday, Jan. 12.
Atkinson and Jason Plumb, who both grew up in Little Rock and now live in New York, will perform A.R. Gurney’s “Love Letters” at 8 p.m. nightly through Jan. 14 at the Easy Street Cabaret, 307 W. Seventh St. Half the proceeds will go to the Arkansas AIDS Founda-tion, whose board includes Easy Street’s owner, Michael Henderson.
Henderson directed Atkinson and Plumb some years back in Little Rock Shakespeare Festival plays and will direct the two again in Easy Street’s intimate 51-seat black box theater. The audience sits cafe style: “Nice drinks, all that. I think it will be really wonderful,” Atkinson said.
The graduate of Pulaski Academy and Hendrix College (and a one-time intern at the Arkansas Times) scored rave reviews in 2005 as the star of the hit off-Broadway play “Fat Pig.” Atkinson also appeared in FX Network’s “Rescue Me” last season.
Atkinson said playwright Gurney prefers that the play, about a staid lawyer and a lively artist who fall in love via a long correspon-dence, be staged by people fresh to the material, which she and Plumb, also 28, surely were when they started rehearsing Monday.
Atkinson said the characters run the gamut of emotions, eventually “letting it all hang out” in the end. “I like the idea of a relationship sus-tained only through words,” Atkinson said. “I think it’s easy to forget about the time when all people did was write letters in terms of corre-spondence.”
Going from idea to stage in eight days — getting the rights, the scripts and Equity clearance — might seem “crazy,” Atkinson said, but she says it’s a powerful play put on for a good cause. “I’d like to give as much as possible to the Arkansas AIDS Foundation, so I’d really like to pack it.”
Tickets are $10. For more information, call 372-3530.


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