ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — For women, clothing is a personal time capsule.
“Love, Loss and What I Wore” mines that visual diary through boots, bras and black. The play by Nora and Delia Ephron opens at the Adobe Theater this weekend. Nora Ephron was the Academy Award-winning screenwriter of “When Harry Met Sally,” “You’ve Got Mail” and “Sleepless in Seattle.”
“Gingy” serves as narrator, sketching various parts of her wardrobe that stir the most poignant memories. She describes her three marriages, “motherhood and the death of a child, each turning point marked by a particular item of clothing.”
Director Phil Shortell will lead the staged reading with Jean Ephron, Georgia Athearn, Linda Williams, Kathleen Murphy and Leslee Richards.
The Ephrons based the work on the 1995 book by Ilene Beckerman.
“She was thinking about events in her life and how they related to particular pieces of clothing,” Shortell said.
“She wrote it for herself,” he continued. “She sent it to some friends and they started telling their stories.”
Mothers figure prominently, especially when they buy clothing their daughters hate.
“I don’t understand, you could look so good if you tried,” one tells her exasperated daughter.
From Madonna’s breast cones to those sleeveless turtlenecks of the 1970s, women’s clothing reflects what they want, how they think of themselves and how others see them.
One character says, “I look gorgeous in high heels, but you can’t think in high heels.”
Another vignette centers on prom dresses.
The junior prom dress was a conservative powder-blue gown worn for a nerdy date. The senior prom dress was a sexy black minidress befitting a more desirable date. The dresses presented an identity crisis to one character: “Here’s the thing – I’ve never really known for sure which of those two people I am – the girl who almost doesn’t get asked to the prom at all or the girl who gets to go with the really cute guy. Every time I thought I knew which one I was, I turned out to be the other. Which is one reason I think I got married, to, like, end the confusion.”
Another woman removed miniskirts from her college wardrobe after being raped. A cancer survivor adorned her newly reconstructed breast with a tattoo.
“There isn’t a single piece in here that I can’t relate to,” Shortell said. “It’s clearly about women. But it isn’t all about women.”