Presented by Hub Theatre Company of Boston
by Nora & Delia Ephron
based on the book by Ilene Beckerman
directed by Paula Plum
Review by Gillian Daniels
(Boston) Until recently, I scorned “chick lit” and “chick flicks,” resenting the idea that light, fluffy fare was meant for women alone. I’ve begun to wonder, however, if the label has been stuck on books and films having to do with women because of how the material is approached or because it’s about women, period. It’s an insulting, dismissive label and it would be a little too easy to slap it on Love, Loss, and What I Wore.
Nora Ephron, the romantic comedy director of When Harry Met Sally (1989) and Sleepless in Seattle (1993), and her sister Delia Ephron usually keep things light, but they know how to cultivate humor and character. The series of monologues about women are filtered through clothes, those handed down, frivolous, or too precious to leave behind. Sometimes, it’s about celebrating women as individuals; sometimes, it’s about condensing multiple experiences into a core, “every-woman” generalization.
The play itself hits a lot of marks unique to the experience of being female, including pregnancy scares, mother-daughter fights, breast cancer, and wedding dresses. Often, it’s as if Love, Loss, and What I Wore has a list of themes it needs to hit. These monologues are not about softness, however, but about the ways in which women bargain or look for more power within their lives.
Linda Goetz’s monologues stand out as the strongest in the play. Playing Woman 3 (Alex’s Mother, Holly, Dora, Merrill, etc.), Goetz can shift from flinty to vulnerable in a matter of seconds. She’s funny, she’s sharp, and she sells every role handed to her, whether she’s a car salesman in love with a convict or an art student too proud to give up her fashionable boots.
Also accomplished in their parts are Adobuere Ebiama and Lauren Elias as Woman 4 and Woman 2, respectively. They bring energy to each character they depict on stage. Theresa Chiasson is also just plain adorable in her parts, whether she’s a doting mother or a kindly doctor. June Kfoury, on the other hand, while sweet as Gingy, whose monologues frame the story, sometimes appeared to have difficulty remembering her lines the night I attended. This might have been due to the heat within the venue, unfortunately, which was absolutely punishing this past weekend.
While Love, Loss, and What I Wore seems bent on defining a single, gentle experience for women, it stays grounded and relatable. It’s a genuinely sweet show about women and life, saccharine but serious when dealing with subjects like death and abuse. Bleak moments are balanced with humorous meditations on fashion and what it really means, both for women who adore it and those who want to be as far as possible from a Gucci purse.
This is The Hub Theatre Company of Boston’s first season. In its infancy, the professional, non-Equity theatre company has embarked on bringing a cute show to the stage. It’s a company that shows promise and I hope Love, Loss, and What I Wore brings them the recognition and audience they’re looking for.