Put on Your Sunday Clothes and Go See The Carnegie â€™s ‘Love, Loss, and What I Wore’
Posted On June 23, 2017
Review by Jack Crumley of Love, Loss, and What I Wore: The Carnegie
November brings a run of Love, Loss, and What I Wore to The Carnegie Theatre, and if youâ€™ve been
missing the writing of Nora Ephron in your life since 2009â€™s Julie & Julia, grab your sister, your
mother, aunt, grandma, and your best girlfriends and get them to Scott Blvd. before the 20th.
Love, Loss, and What I Wore is a series of monologues about growing up, dating, marrying,
divorcing, and the random quirks of everyday life that always lead to the best stories. All with a
focus on what we wear. Ephron and her sister, Delia, adapted the play from the 1995 book by
Ilene Beckerman. The through-line of the show is Gingy (played by Marypat Carletti), a woman
reflecting on her life and how those memories are shaped by the clothes she wore at the time.
That concept may sound a bit trifling, but just like hearing a song on the radio from when you
were sixteen that takes you right back to that moment in your life, or remembering grandmaâ€™s
house every time you smell apple pie, Gingyâ€™s wardrobe gives her memories a specificity.
Alongside Carlettiâ€™s Gingy are four other women who come and go and are simply referred to as
â€œEnsemble.â€ Individually and at times together, they tell short stories about prom dresses, boots,
purses, the color BLACK, how every woman in a certain age range at one point wanted to be
Madonna, and more. Their stories are equal parts witty, candid, and touching.
All four women in the ensemble, Mel Hatch Douglas, Nabachwa Ssensalo, Tess Talbot, and
Sarah Zaffiro work very well together. There are times when theyâ€™ll all take turns saying the
same line, like â€œit doesnâ€™t fit,â€ and each actress has her own way of delivering that dialogue.
Opening night had the women playing off the audienceâ€™s reaction at times, and it peaked during
the â€œShoesâ€ segment in the second act that had the audience roaring and Tess Talbot breaking,
briefly. I mean this as praise. It was a fun, honest moment in a fun, honest show.
Credit should be given to the director, Abby Rowold. Gingy and the Ensemble all have a sincere
naturalness to them in their movement and their delivery. Itâ€™s very difficult to tell if thatâ€™s from
Rowold giving precise direction, or her letting her cast move instinctively. Some of the more
theatrical moments of the show all have the right, funny punch to them; particularly the memory
of a certain, buxom relative.
Staging Love, Loss, and What I Wore at The Carnegie really maximizes the intimacy of the
relatively small space. These are women telling you their most embarrassing moments or
revealing how they really felt about their second husband. Putting this show on a large stage
would take away from the connection that builds between the cast and the audience. Also, the
set is designed as Gingyâ€™s bedroom, with a semi-transparent curtain in the back that serves as a
border for a not-so-backstage dressing room for the Ensemble. There are also home movies
projected onto that curtain to help set the mood for certain stories, drawings of Gingyâ€™s various
outfits through the years, and the story titles are projected on it as well. Rounding out this
multi-media production are songs that also augment the stories, particularly Doris Dayâ€™s â€œQue
The show is a bit bawdy at times with some cursing, but even during the indelicate moments,
you could hear people in the audience making those knowing chuckles as if to say â€œoh yeah,
Iâ€™ve been there.â€ The femininity of Love, Loss, and What I Wore is a major element, but that
really shouldnâ€™t discourage men from seeing it alongside their wives or girlfriends or sisters. One
of the real strengths of the show is its relatability. And I say that as a 35-year-old man.
Love, Loss, and What I Wore plays at The Carnegie through November 20. Tickets are
availableÂ at www.thecarnegie.com.