The success of Coast magazine’s “Closet Confidential” shows we all love to peak into someone’s wardrobe to get a glimpse of how they really live their life.
College of the Mainland’s latest show lets us glimpse into the lives of many women. “Love, Loss and What I Wore” was written by Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron and is based on the book by Ilene Beckerman. It’s chock full of Ephron’s trademark wit and her intelligent insights in women’s lives.
On Broadway, the play was performed by a rotating cast of celebrities who sat behind musical stands holding their scripts. For most of the play the College of the Mainland cast perform this way, but director Mark Adams has each woman come out front and center to perform key monologues.
These moments were particularly enjoyable, and I wished this approach had been taken throughout as the music stands create a visual barrier.
All of the performances are excellent with many delightful and moving moments. Anne Boyd plays Gingy, whose life story dominates the play. She describes favorite, memorable and disliked outfits from her life as a way of remembering key moments. She wants her granddaughter to understand she didn’t always wear baggy and shapeless outfits but was once a girl, a wife, a mother — a person.
Interspersed with Gingy’s life are anecdotes from the lives of the other women some large and some small. Shawna Glad, Michelle Koran, Natalija Pollock and Karen Schalg really bring the moments to life, and even though the stories are anecdotal in nature, they cover a wide range of topics.
Dramatic moments include recovering from rape, the death of a parent and a double mastectomy to more humorous topics including messy purses and dressing up as Madonna for Halloween.
Mother-daughter relationships, the discomfort of buying a training bra and the difficulty of choosing a wedding dress were other great moments that spark chuckles of recognition from the opening-night audience.
The overlapping squares of Tom King’s set make a nice framing device for the stage, although the hanging clothes and stacked shoes that also dress the set look more like costumes than clothes women would wear.
Michelle de los Reyes’ lighting helps to create mood and atmosphere for both the dramatic and humorous stories, and projected sketches of the different outfits described work well.
Amanda Bezemek dresses the cast in all black, modern clothes. This made me chuckle, especially as there is a whole section of the play devote to the magically flattering qualities of black clothes — “Can we just stop pretending that anything is ever going to be the new black?”
“Love, Loss and What I Wore” is a funny and moving night at the theater that’s not just for women. If you’ve ever worn an outfit that’s made you feel on top of the world, or if the soft texture of a dressing gown can conjure memories of a parent, or you’ve ever looked back at what you used to wear and laughed out loud, then this is the play for you.
“Love, Loss and What I Wore”
When: Until June 1; performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
Where: The College of the Mainland Community Theatre, 1200 N. Amburn Road, in Texas City
Tickets: $23 — $13 with discounts for seniors and students. Call 409-933-8345 or visit www.com.edu/community-theatre