When I was a kid and would play "make believe," every story - whether in my head or "play acting," began with "Once Upon A Time..." nothing in my child world was present day - I was always looking to the past... or the future. As I began to get into the career of Acting, I would find myself doing the same thing with the material that I would attack.
Doing a piece that is set in a different time period can bring about different psychological demands... You have to remember what the morals of THAT time period were... What were the roles of women, what were the roles of men? How women viewed men at THAT time.. and vice versa. What people were expected to do... or not do. What did they hide.. either from themselves or from others... and why. LOVE LETTERS is making me look at women from 1937 thru the '70s.... I'd like to say that women "changed," but I think it is more that men evolved and learned to either accept or deny what they discovered in women.
Anyway, I keep exploring what I think was acceptable and non-acceptable behavior for my character thru those periods. And how I would have judged myself during those times. I think I would have been a very different person had I not come of age when I did.... I see that in Melissa's character, I see that in my older women friends who came of age in different times. Not a better or worse time... just a different time. You certainly can't change the time that you came of age in.....but I can "act" thru it.
I look to all my older friends when I work on this play.... and I am trying to find all the nuances of the various periods... not the cliches, and then I say "Once Upon A Time...."