The Colonial Players is ending its 72nd season with a play that has more to it than initially meets the eye. “Love, Loss and What I Wore” is a journey through women’s lives and how the clothes we wear reflect different realities. The clothes aren’t meant to define women, but they speak volumes about who the wearer is and what her hopes, dreams, successes, and failures are. They evoke memories that ground us and launch us into the world. Not bad for a dress or pair of pants…
…or in one hysterical scene, a training bra. Now in all honesty, I never went shopping for one (my mother just handed me one when I was 13), but evidently that is a memorable rite of passage for a lot of females. The seven actresses that populate The Colonial Players stage effortlessly milked every laugh out of it. It was a funny and appalling vignette — telling how girls’ and women’s bodies begin to be judged and policed in new ways when they hit a certain age.
…a grand cast…a lovely show…and I suggest you go see it.
“Love, Loss and What I Wore” is a prize-winning play by Nora and Delia Ephron (based on a book by Ilene Beckerman). Having seen the polished and thoughtful performance at The Colonial Players, it’s no surprise that it was the longest-running play in the off-Broadway West Side Theatre’s history. It captures pivotal moments in women’s lives.
Heading up the cast as Gingy — the narrator and collector of women’s stories on love, loss and what they wore — is Darice Clewell. Clewell is wry, funny, and achingly honest about the pivotal events in her life. The clothes that immortalized them in her memory and sketchbook sets the tone for the rest of the cast.
The ensemble is made up of Aleiha Direnzo, Mary MacLeod, Kristen Page-Kirby, Aricia Skidmore-Williams, Joanna Tobin, and Meg Venton. They have the lift of playing multiple roles as they go through the 28 stories told on stage, and pivoting to imbue each character with an identifiable voice. This is a grand cast and they make it look easy.
Director Robin Schwartz keeps a light touch, and allows the sorrowful and absurd moments to blend nearly seamlessly. As the dress illustrator, Christina McAlpine’s work is mostly seen either in Gingy’s sketchbook or on a series of fashion plates that make use of the floor as a fourth wall. It’s rather insouciant.
This is a lovely show that reminds us that clothes tell stories and store memories, and that they remind us of where we’ve been and where we want or hope to go. This play also reminds us that connections exist among all of us and what we wore helps keep those connections alive. It’s a gently emotional show and I suggest you go see it. Then go home and run your eyes and hands over the stuff in your closet. You might just see all the wonders of your life there.
Running Time: Approximately one hour and 40 minutes straight without intermission.
Show Advisory: Adult language and topics. Training bras appear on stage — they might make you laugh and cry at the same time.
“Love, Loss and What I Wore” runs through July 25, 2021, in person at The Colonial Plays of Annapolis, 108 East Street, Annapolis, MD 21401, Phone: 410-268-7373. For more information, please click here.