The pair of jeans I wore when I went roller skating and met the worst mistake of my life…the black suit that I have worn to every funeral since I was 25…the denim jumper I wore when I got my ears pierced at the age of 12…the navy blue straight leg silk pants with embroidered baby’s breath flowers I wore on my first overnight date with the man that taught me what true love really meant… all articles of clothing cloaked in memories. It is true that women cling to the clothing they wore as events fill the chapters in the books of our lives, after all what’s a story without the accessories that give it vivid detail. This notion is brilliantly and hilariously explored in the off-Broadway production of Love, Loss and What I Wore playing at The Westside Theatre.
Based on the best-selling book by Ilene Beckerman (and adapted for the stage by Nora and Delia Ephron) Love, Loss and What I Wore is a collection of stories performed by an all-star rotating cast that has included Rhea Perlman, Rosie O’Donnell, Rita Wilson and Tracee Ellis Ross. Each cast performs in four week intervals. The March cast stars Didi Conn, Fran Drescher, Jayne Houdyshell, Carol Kane and Natasha Lyonne. The play starts and ends with Gingy’s Story with other narratives woven in between. The cast, dressed in black, sit and deliver the monologues. The set is a tapestry of dresses changing in color.
The play covers the full gamut of emotions from a fashionable perspective. At times I was bursting with laughter and at others I found myself fending off the lump forming in my throat. It even covers topics like the frenzy women experience when trying on outfits in the dressing room, the obsession with being fat or thin, the hell women put their feet through for a pair of sexy stilettos, all topics that drive women schizophrenic. Other stories are more personal like Boots, an anecdote about neglect, even fashion icon Madonna was paid homage.
Photos: Carol Rosegg courtesy of O&M Co.