A young divorcee, an art student, a gang girl, a breast cancer survivor, nervous brides, mothers, daughters, sisters — Delaware Theatre Company’s special presentation of LOVE, LOSS, AND WHAT I WORE hits on a range of women’s experiences so broad and so basic that it speaks to virtually everyone.
A collection of stories by Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron (based on the book by Ilene Beckerman), LOVE, LOSS, AND WHAT I WORE is presented as a set of monologues by five actresses perched, simply, on five stools. The rotating cast commonly features well-known actresses from television, and film, and the DTC production is no different: the all-star lineup includes Sabrina Le Beauf, a theater vet known to many as Sondra on “The Cosby Show”; Sonia Manzano, best known for her 40 years as Maria (as well as an Emmy-winning writer) of “Sesame Street”; Karyn Quackenbush, Broadway, Off-Broadway and TV/Film actress and LLaWIW veteran; multi-talented comedian Erica Watson; and Dawn Wells, best known as Mary Ann on “Gilligan’s Island”. To say they brought the vibrant parade of characters to life is an understatement — they absolutely shone.
Among the characters are Gingy, a nostalgic grandmother figure played by Wells who tells her story with the help of drawings of her favorite pieces of clothing through her life, from her first Brownie uniform to her first maternity dress to her granddaughter’s favorite dress. Her life has had its highs and lows, accented with exchanges with family and friends. In between chapters of Gingy’s life, we meet many other women and the clothes that shaped them, from boots to bras to wedding dresses (and one suit) of all kinds, a perfect shirt and the perfect bag. Watson’s “I Hate My Purse” monologue is especially hilarious and relatable, at least for the disorderly-purse people among us (and gauging from the laughs, we’re in the majority).
The production is all highlights, really. I was especially moved by the story of two brides (Le Beauf and Quackenbush) on their quests for the perfect wedding attire; the two stories seem completely separate, until you realize that they’re getting married to each other. Manzano’s piece as a young cancer survivor avoids heavy-handedness without trivializing the issue. As one of three sisters myself, “Sisters”, featuring Le Beauf, Manzano and Watson was almost eerie — you don’t realize how universal some things are until you see your own life played out in front of you. That’s the real message about the show — it’s not about what you wore, really, or whether you’re prom queen, the “big girl”, or one of the Latin Chantelles — at the end of the day, we’re all sisters.
LOVE, LOSS, AND WHAT I WORE
by Nora Ephron & Delia Ephron
Based on the Book by Ilene Beckerman
By Special Arrangement with Daryl Roth
Originally Directed by Karen Carpenter
March 6 – 17, 2013
Delaware Theatre Company
200 Water Street
Wilmington, DE 19801