Yale Rep to stage world premiere of a ‘lyrical and moving portrait’ of friendship

The world premiere of a play chronicling the 30-year friendship between two of the most celebrated American poets of the 20th century — Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell — is the next offering at the Yale Repertory Theatre.

“Dear Elizabeth” is “a lyrical and moving portrait of two lives that unfold in letters,” note the organizers, “with postmarks from Maine to Key West, and as far away as London and South America.”

Written by acclaimed playwright Sarah Ruhl, “Dear Elizabeth, a play in letters from Elizabeth Bishop to Robert Lowell and back again” is directed by Les Waters. Performances will run Nov. 30-Dec. 22 at the Yale Repertory Theatre, 1120 Chapel St. Opening night is Thursday, Dec. 6.

The production features scenic design by Adam Rigg, costumes by Maria Hooper, lighting by Russell Champa, sound by Bray Poor, projections by Hannah Wasileski, dramaturgy by Amy Boratko, and stage management by Kirstin Hodges.

“Dear Elizabeth” has a two-member cast, featuring Mary Beth Fisher and Jefferson Mays.

This is Ruhl’s fifth production at the Yale Rep. Her other plays include “The Clean House,” which had its world premiere at the Yale Rep, was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize, and received the Susan Smith Blackburn Award; “In the Next Room (or the vibrator play),” which was a Pulitzer Prize finalist and a Tony Award nominee for best play; and “Passion Play,” which was honored with a Fourth Forum Freedom Award from The Kennedy Center. Ruhl’s plays have been produced internationally and have been translated into numerous languages. An associate artist at the Yale Rep, Ruhl is the recipient of a Helen Merrill Award, Whiting Writers' Award, PEN/Pels Foundation Award, and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.

Performances are at 8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, with additional 2 p.m. matinees on Saturdays, Dec. 8, 15 (an open-captioned and audio-described show), and 22, and on Wednesday, Dec. 12. There is one Monday performance, on Dec. 3. Other special events include a 7 p.m. reception for graduate students on Saturday, Dec. 1; a reception for senior citizens at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 12; Talk Back conversations with members of the cast and crew following the Saturday matinee shows on Dec. 8 and 15; and Post-Show Conversations on Friday, Nov. 30; Saturday, Dec. 1; Monday, Dec. 3; Tuesday, Dec. 11; Thursday, Dec. 13; and Saturday, Dec. 15.

Tickets for “Dear Elizabeth” are $20-$96, and are available online <www.yalerep.org>, by phone at 203-432-1234, and in person at the Yale Rep box office, 1120 Chapel St.  Student, senior, and group rates are also available.