Ask a woman about a personal triumph or tragedy in her life, and chances are she’ll remember the clothing she was wearing at the time. That’s the basic premise of the South Okanagan Amateur Players’ upcoming production, Love, Loss, and What I Wore. The playful comedy is written by sisters Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron and based on the best-selling picture-book memoir by Ilene Beckerman. The Ephron sisters are noted for their quick-witted rom-com films, When Harry Met Sally, Julie and Julia, Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail.
The play is more about memory and relationships than it is about fashion or shopping for clothes. Clothing is merely a device used to access old emotions and relive life-changing moments, memories that hang like items of clothing in a woman’s closet, just waiting to be tried on again. The result is a funny, poignant, and ultimately uplifting collection of stories, all of them true.
Jen Jensen directs a cast of five women (Linda Lobb, Christine Rothwell, Penelope Johnson, Robin Stille and Tracey Granger) who reminisce their way through a series of monologues, dialogues and rapid fire vignettes. Assuming a variety of characters and voices, the women recall touchstone moments in a woman’s life, told through her clothing: a childhood dress, the embarrassment of fitting a first bra, a prom gown and the beau who went with it, the pain and sexiness of high heeled shoes, finding the right dress in which to marry the one you love, why women adore black and the love-hate relationship with a purse. Scenes vary from serious to sexy to just plain silly.
Sewing this colourful patchwork of scenes together is Gingy (Lobb), a straight-talking senior who uses tongue-in-cheek humour to retell her life story through her clothes. On the way, she inspires the other characters to join in with anecdotes of their own, following a roughly chronological format from childhood, through loves and losses, to career and motherhood, and on to the golden years.
The show is especially recommended as a hilarious evening out for moms and daughters, sisters and women’s groups. But while the estrogen level may be high onstage, the show promises to be an eye-opener and a source of amusement for men. What do women really do in the department store change-room? What is she really thinking when standing in front of the closet for minutes on end? Why do women wear boots year-round? Why is what she wears so important to her anyway? The show reveals many of women’s secret fears and private joys, using clothing as a metaphor for memory. Women may laugh with the characters, while men laugh at them, but laughter is guaranteed for both genders.
Love, Loss and What I Wore hits the stage on March 1 and 2 at Summerland Centre Stage, March 8 and 9 at the Osoyoos Minitheatre and March 15 and 16 at the Oliver Seniors Centre.
Tickets are available at The Sweet Tooth in Summerland. For more information, contact SOAP @ telus.net or the producer at 250-498-3597.