Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Love, Loss, and What I Wore

It's no secret that I'm half in love with Nora Ephron. I had a When Harry Met Sally moment on the deck of a cruise ship several years ago while reading I Feel Bad About my Neck. I was totally out of control, guffawing at Ms. Ephron's ability to tap into women's deepest insecurities and then to make light of them with her spot on humor. A woman sitting a few deck chairs down came over to me and asked what I was reading and, if it hadn't been a library book, I'd have handed it off to her right then and there. I mean reading and sharing is what it's all about, right?

So when the post card from Theatre Conspiracy arrived in my mailbox and I saw that they were having a fundraiser with various readings of Love, Loss, and What I Wore, I got on the phone and called up some gal pals for an evening of laughter and poignancy. Where else can you go and enjoy a night of live theatre for twenty bucks a head? Even when I dislike a choice by artistic director Bill Taylor and his group I still attend simply to show moral support for the arts in Fort Myers. Theatre Conspiracy has faced more than their fair share of dislocation and discombobulation, yet they've managed to stay alive and well for some thirty years now - an amazing feat in Fort Myers, Florida.

Norah Ephron and her sister Delia adapted this play from a memoir by Ilene Beckerman who morphs into Gingy in the play. I've never seen this show on or off Broadway, though I've wanted to, so I have nothing to compare it to. I will tell you that I doubled over with laughter at several points throughout the hour and half production and then was caught off guard by its moments of serious reflection. One scene in particular struck me when a woman who's chosen to have a double mastectomy after her breast cancer diagnosis receives a gift from a girl friend,  a white lace push-up bra, the most beautiful piece of underwear she's ever seen, which she proudly dons after reconstruction surgery.

Ephron's gift, her intuition if you will, is on full display here as the five women on stage revisit the large and small moments of their lives through their vibrant memories of what they were wearing at the time. Even those of us who couldn't be denigratingly called a "clothes horse" can remember certain dresses, hats, or those dreaded leggings that our moms made us wear. Yes, I'm dating myself.

Whether it was for a wedding, a divorce, a bat mitzvah, or the first day of school, old photo albums will remind us of the best and the worst moments of our lives. Ephron is such a generous writer. Her style hardly fits with the harridan portrayed by former husband and victim of her biting wit, Carl Bernstein.
 She loves Gingy in all her incarnations and she loves women in all their glory and insecurity. When actress Carrie Lund of Florida Repertory Theatre reminisces about the power and confidence she felt when donning her first pair of quality, leather boots, I could knowingly nod my head in camaraderie. We all have an item of clothing that imbues us with that feeling, don't we?

This play will run for another two weekends with a different complement of actors interacting with the audience each night. And please don't think that the show is "for women only." Your enlightened, feminist guy friends will enjoy the insight too. Interested? Check it out at: http://www.theatreconspiracy.org/


Kathleen said...

Is this still playing? I want to see it! I too love Nora AND the Theater Conspiracy!!

Sallyb said...

Yes, yes, yes! You must see.