The current play at 2nd Story Theatre in Warren features six women, all dressed in black, simply sitting on stage, scripts in hand, talking.
Our theater critic, Bill Gale, says the result, amazingly enough, is funny, charming and real.
Yes, good theater can come in many forms. This play, “Love, Loss & What I Wore” by the late Nora Ephron and her sister Delia, is a delightful and interesting view of what you might call the Women's Way. It consists of dozens of quick episodes concerning love, and hate, how you felt, whom you adore, whom you don't and, of course, what you wore.
I could go on. Episodes in one minute consider the extreme difficulty of buying a good bra. In the next, it's the difficulty finding a good man. And, always, the women remember exactly what they wore, and why. They explain that clothing is something “you can fall back on.” And they do it in such a lovely, strong way that even a male theatergoer like myself can understand it, even feel it.
The six ladies in this female roundtable sit on stage, never leave their seats. And yet, they cover an ever-widening area of their lives, loves and losses. You find yourself watching and waiting for the next women to speak up, to say what she feels.
“Love, Loss & What I Wore” is often hilarious, sometimes almost goofy. But it also reaches to harder questions. The fear of getting old, and ill, for instance. Then follows the fear of wearing the wrong dress. This play jumps from the totally important to the hardly needed. It's a kaleidoscope of fun and fear. It's kind of like life, a mixture of the hilarious and the terrible.
Much of that is due to the crisp, attitudinal writing of the Ephrons. Nora, of course, is well known as the screenwriter of films such as “Sleepless in Seattle” and “When Harry Met Sally,” along with “Heartburn” a novel about her marriage to Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame. Delia has written a number of films and novels, too.
Their work in this play could seem to be just easygoing comedy. But, in truth, it is a superior view into they way many people feel, and live. At 2nd Story, director Lynne Collinson has brought about a sharply done version. Her actors --Joanne Fayan, Tanya Anderson, Joan Batting, Pam Faulkner, Laura Sorenson and Valerie Westgate -- may never get out of their chairs but each is clear and crisp, always there, paying attention and reacting as another actor gets her turn at the sharp dialogue.
The showing I attended was clearly filled with females. My rough count was that there were about 5 women for every man. And, certainly, when the frequent laughter came about, it was clearly female.
But, in truth, “Love, Loss & What I Wore” is not just a sweet comedy for women. It has a lot of bite for us all, a lot of laughs, and some viable lessons to be learned, too.
“Love, Loss & What I Wore” continues at 2nd Story Theatre in Warren through March 6th. Bill Gale reviews the performing arts for Rhode Island Public Radio