Love, Loss and What I Wore: A Review of the Off-Broadway Staple
If you’re attractive, don’t read this article. If you have a good personality, please don’t read this article. If you have a boyfriend, I hope you’ll navigate back to the News page so he might find you smarter. To all popular, pretty women: this article was not written for you.
If you’re still reading this article, Nora Ephron knows how you feel. She wrote in her book, Crazy Salad, “If there’s anything more boring to me than the problems of big-busted women, it is the problems of beautiful women.”
I’m sure you don’t care to hear why a girl’s designer bag doesn’t match her diamond ring. Furthermore, you’re sure there’s a law against complaining after a girl has obtained what that diamond ring represents: a man who loves her. You see, Nora Ephron understands that everyone around is better off than you, and she won’t treat you like you’ve got it all together.
This kind of practical treatment can be found at the Westside Theater, current home to Love, Loss, and What I Wore. A play by Nora and Delia Ephron, Love, Loss and What I Wore is a collection of women’s triumphs and failures, all detailed with the primary female perspective of memory: what they were wearing. The play is based off Ilene Beckerman’s best selling memoir of the same title, as she recounts her life by the memories endowed to certain items in her closet. Inspired by Ms. Beckerman’s words, sisters Nora and Delia interviewed their circle of women on the same subject and compiled the play from first hand accounts.
The acting in this production is praiseworthy because it requires total honesty. Usually actors subdue their nerves by pretending the audience is not there. In contrast, the actors in this production must enter a state of total vulnerability because they are sharing a true story directly to the audience as if it actually happened to them.
Staging for the production accomplishes the purpose of the play: the actresses relate to the audience. Five women, wearing black, sit on stools and converse with the crowd. The clothes mentioned are only displayed through drawings. This minimal set up draws the audience’s attention to the stories shared, reducing the garments to a catalyst for memory. Symbolically, this reminds the listeners that ‘what they wore’ is merely a filter for the emotions expressed; the outfit masks the pain.
You will you relate to your fair share of pain during this play. There are accounts of bad break-ups, rape and fathers that fail to be heroes. It’s as cathartic as a good cry. You become unified in the woes of womanhood (even those woes that drove you to read this article) and that unity causes you to laugh at yourself with ease.
You can begin laughing by realizing that this play is, as one character puts it, is “for women who hate their purses, who are bad at purses, who understand that their purses are reflections of negligent housekeeping, hopeless disorganization, a chronic inability to throw anything away … This is for those of you who understand, in short, that your purse is, in some absolutely horrible way, you.” You won’t hear the women in this play complaining that their designer bag does not match their diamond ring. They don’t even have diamond rings.
Westside Theater is located on 407 West 43rd St. Their box office is open from noon to 6pm for advance sales.