Now running through February 14th, Love, Loss, and What I Wore by Nora and Delia Ephron is a collection of stories from several women retelling their lives’ struggles and celebrations with the common thread of the outfits they wore for each occasion. The play is a readers’ theatre piece adapted from the book by Ilene Beckerman, whose character serves as the narrator for the stage show. Director Amy Lane said that Nora Ephron had a great fondness for the original work.
“She gave the book as Christmas gifts to a lot of her friends,” Lane said. “She because sort of obsessed with this idea that, for a lot of women, certain pieces of clothing are more important than just fabric. It’s more important than just fashion, but that clothing evokes memories. Certain milestone in lots of women’s lives can be marked by what they wore.”
Nora and Delia Ephron, each established writers in their own right, opened Beckerman’s story up for their theatrical adaptation. They interviewed 100s of women over the course of several months and put together a compilation of the women’s stories performed by the cast.
“They become kind of all women everywhere,” she said. “Each of the stories do completely different things. There are stories that are more serious. There are stories that are ridiculously funny and the topics and articles of clothing range everywhere from bras to high heels.”
Lane spoke about the Ephron sisters’ decision to make the play a readers’ theatre experience. The cast members sit down with scripts on music stands and deliver each character’s speech. While the speeches are monologues in the purest sense of the term, Lane said they feel much more like diary entries, like the character has invited you into their house and is telling you stories over a glass of wine.
“What comes is an invitation for the audience to bring their own stories to the party,” she said. “For example, for our preview audience the other night, that was the number one thing after the show. All you could hear was the audience talking about, ‘Oh my gosh, that made me think of this! That made me think of my wedding dress! That made me think of my prom dress!’ We all have stories like that. So, to kind of expose it as, ‘These are stories. You have stories too.’ I think that’s the uniqueness of this play.”
Lane said that while the play is by women and for women, the stories they tell and the experience they relate are something everyone can connect to or learn from.
“Even if men don’t have that same kind of relationship to their clothing, they still have momentous occasions in their lives that they can relate to,” she said. “I think, in a way, this could open up a lot of doors to maybe gaining some insight into your girlfriends, your wives, your daughters, your mothers, all of the women in your life. It’s also just incredibly funny and I think that anybody will have a good time at the theatre.”
The Omaha Community Playhouse’s production of Love, Loss, and What I Wore runs now through February 14th on the Hawks Mainstage. For more information about the show, visit www.OmahaPlayhouse.com.
Cold Cream looks at theater in the metro area. Email information to firstname.lastname@example.org