Admission: Gate pass required. Purchase at the Main Gate Welcome Center; (716) 357-6250
Reading together since 1878, the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle has remained a leader in adult education through quality programming. Each summer, the CLSC chooses at least nine books of literary quality and invites the authors to Chautauqua present their work to an audience of approximately 1,000 readers, and Letters from Max by Sarah Ruhl and Max Ritvo was chosen to be a part of the series this summer.
In 2012, Sarah Ruhl was a distinguished author and playwright, twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Max Ritvo, a student in her playwriting class at Yale University, was an exuberant, opinionated, and highly gifted poet. He was also in remission from pediatric cancer.
Over the next four years―in which Ritvo’s illness returned and his health declined, even as his productivity bloomed―the two exchanged letters that spark with urgency, humor, and the desire for connection. Reincarnation, books, the afterlife as an Amtrak quiet car, good soup: in Ruhl and Ritvo’s exchanges, all ideas are fair, nourishing game, shared and debated in a spirit of generosity and love. Studded with poems and songs, Letters from Max is a deeply moving portrait of a friendship, and a shimmering exploration of love, art, mortality, and the afterlife.