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From the heart

Play aims to revive letter writing

Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal star “Love Letters.” Image:

Preserving the art of letter writing is the goal of a new play with two uniquely qualified stars.

Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw, who starred in the 1970 film “Love Story,” have reunited for a touring production of A.R. Gurney’s 1989 play “Love Letters.”

O’Neal and MacGraw play characters who read letters they sent each other over the course of a 50-year romance. The actors hope the new production will inspire audiences to put down their smartphones and pick up pen and paper.

“Only with letter writing could [‘Love Letters’] be communicated. I don’t see how you could text this story to each other,” MacGraw told CBS News this week.

Even if writing letters is becoming less common, “Love Letters” remains popular, according to the report. Since the play debuted on Broadway 25 years ago, it’s been staged hundreds of times in more than 40 countries.

Like O’Neal and MacGraw, Gurney agrees texting is no substitute for a handwritten letter.

“It doesn’t have the personal nature of the penmanship,” Gurney said. “It doesn’t have the sense of thought, since when you’re writing with a pen, you’re thinking about what you’re doing.”

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