The Phoenix Theatre closes its 30th season with a delightful show specifically geared towards women. Love, Loss, and What I Wore offers a string of brief vignettes about momentous events in women’s lives and the clothes they associate them. Nora Ephron’s ode to her closet and the memories each item holds is sweet and endlessly relatable. Like the films that made her famous (When Harry Met Sally and You’ve Got Mail) the play is both funny and touching. The dialogue quickly jumps from one person to the next in the five-person cast.
The production could have been cliché, embracing generalizations about women and their love of shopping and clothes. Instead it focuses on the feelings that a piece of clothing can ignite in a person: nostalgia, regret, longing, excitement, etc. Any woman can identify, not because we all love clothes, but because we all have stories of love and loss that make us who we are. Men can obviously also identify with those feelings, but they might not remember each detailed outfit quite as well.
The conversational tone of the show is highlighted by the casual staging. The actors sit in a row on the intimate stage and share stories with the audience. There are tales of prom dresses, jewelry, bra shopping, wedding gowns, and favorite T-shirts; each one making the audience laugh or tugging at heart strings in turn.
The wonderful cast is made up of five very different women: Cindy Phillips, Lori Raffel, Sara Reimen, Gayle Steigerwald, and Milicent Wright. They represent a wide range of women as they embrace each of their roles; telling the characters’ personal anecdotes about their lives or commiserating about frustrating shopping experiences. One monologue about a bathrobe, given by Raffel, is particularly moving. The robe was worn by her mother and it takes on a deeper significance after its owner passes away. It’s not the clothing itself that is so meaningful, it’s the memories the piece may bring to the surface that makes it significant.
Grab the women in your life and head to the Phoenix. Just go see it, you won’t regret it
For more information about the Phoenix Theatre, visit www.phoenixtheatre.org. The theater is located at 749 N. Park Ave., Indianapolis, just off Massachusetts Ave.
Performances: The show runs until August 11 and offers four performances a week. Thursdays begin at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturdays begin at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.
Tickets: To purchase tickets, call (317) 635-PLAY (7529). Prices range from $18 to $28. The play has no intermission.