Our lives are punctuated by what we wear and choose as accessories. I don’t mean just from frivolous decision of what shade of lipstick is in style, but big moments, like what to dress to wear for your wedding, trying to find a bra that fits for the first time, how to dress for chemotherapy, and of course what purse will go with it.
These outfits and decisions tell a story about our lives and who we are as people.
Hendersonville Community Theatre is putting on the wonderfully witty play “Love, Loss and what I Wore,” written by Nora and Delia Ephron and based on the book by Ilene Beckerman. The two sister writers are best known for their screenplays such as Nora’s “When Harry Met Sally” or Delia’s “You’ve Got Mail.”
It is an HCT second stage production utilizing the theater in the round, drawing the audience into the story, often speaking directly to people. The play takes a page from “The Vagina Monologues,” where a story is brought together by the shared experience of being women.
Five incredibly talented actresses weave together stories of their lives through the clothing they wore. The motif of the play is of course love and loss and the ways those take shape. Our romantic loves, the love and relationships we have with our mothers, fathers, sisters, step-parents and best friends.
It is also a play about how we deal with loss: of parents, children, our breasts, or just the loss of a favorite shirt.
Jeanne O’Conner plays Gingy, an older woman reflecting back on all of the clothing she has worn, from homespun brown dresses her mother put her in to fancy tight-fitting dresses her ex-husband bought her. Each of these outfits she realizes is a chapter in her life.
She begins to tell the story partly because she wants her children and grandchildren to know that she is more than just that, she was a girl who used to hang out the window of her New York apartment with her best friend to heckle the men who passed; she was the beautiful girl who broke hearts in high school.
Each of these phases in her life were different authentic versions of herself, even the grandmother who wears long black sleeves to cover her aging arms (and her pink scarf she punctuates her outfit with, because pink is her granddaughter’s favorite).
The cast is stellar. Jennifer Memolo, Carrie Kimzey, Charlene Spinks, Aoife Clancy and Beth Norris play multiple characters. Donning costumes and accents to tell the story of, well, all women.
Often hilarious moments of what-to-wear meltdowns or the panic of never being able to find anything in a cavernous purse are part of the show. But these moments are punctuated by intimate sincerity where they tell of abusive relationships, the death of a mother, the struggle of chemotherapy. These women work together seamlessly moving between timelines, stories and characters. They know when to shine and when to support.
I highly recommend this enjoyable, thoughtful fun play. Director Vitoria Lamberth orchestrated the script beautifully. She utilized BJ Winchester’s minimal set perfectly, the benches a bus one moment, a therapist’s couch the next.
It is a show about the love and turmoil in our lives, with simplicity and lighthearted wit.