(Cover Photo: The Hub Theatre Company of Boston CAST of "LOVE, LOSS AND WHAT I WORE" by Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron now playing at Club Café in Boston, MA. through August 5, 2023. Photo Courtesy Hub Theatre Company of Boston)
By Kevin T. Baldwin
“My mother wanted us to understand that the tragedies of your life one day have to potential to be the comic stories the next.”
- Nora Ephron
Proof that great theatre is always in style!
Written By Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron
Based on the Book by Ilene Beckerman
Directed by Paula Plum
Cast Includes: Nettie Chickering, Barbara Douglass, Lauren Elias, Evelyn Holley, June Kfoury
Additional Creative Team:
Asst. Director/Movement Director - Kiki Samko; Stage Manager - Kendra Waugh; Assistant Stage Manager - Andrea McAdam; Producer - Lauren Elias; Sound Design - Ted Kearnan; Set Design - Justin Lahue; Associate Scenic Designer - Maggie Shivers; Costume Design - Kat Lawrence; Lighting Design - Talia Elisa; Production Manager - Jessie Marasco
July 22, 2023 through August 5, 2023
(Contact Venue for Exact Dates and Times)
Club Café, 209 Columbus Avenue, Boston, MA.
Tickets: Pay As You Can
For tickets or more information, visit www.hubtheatreboston.org
COVID 19 PROTOCOLS
Contact Venue for Most Updated COVID-19 Safety Protocols and Information.
HUB Theatre Company of Boston's latest production, “LOVE, LOSS AND WHAT I WORE,” playing now in Boston, is a delightfully perceptive look into self-perception.
Ignore the giant, hanging disco balls above your heads (if you can).
Instead, focus on the huge, neon pink hanger in the background of the stage, adjacent to two shapely sewing mannequins.
Now turn your attention to the five chairs on the stage where five wonderful actresses convey stories celebrating topics on which many can relate.
Written by Nora and Delia Ephron (based on the book by Ilene Beckerman), “LOVE, LOSS AND WHAT I WORE” focuses our attention on the concept of women's apparel.
Under the astute direction of five-time Elliot Norton Award-winner Paula Plum and assistant directed by Elliot Norton Award-winner and Boston’s resident fashionista Kiki Samko, the members of this finely matched ensemble include June Kfoury, Evelyn Holley, Nettie Chickering, Lauren Elias and Barbara Douglass - who all regale us with a series of diverse, colorful stories and the coordination succeeds.
As the ensemble verbally struts down the vignette catwalk of tales, we hear subjects of bras, pantyhose, boots, shoes, bathrobes, purses, sweaters, skirts, "outfits," prom dresses and more.
If you are asking yourself: "What, exactly, IS an 'outfit'?" you are not alone but apparently it is a recognizable term for some.
For some, this “wall hanging” of multiple character interactions will be an education as we learn the methodology - all those varied, detailed reasonings that go into the selection process for clothing choices made.
For the uneducated...like myself (re: see 'outfit') ...one thing that immediately stands out is the propensity for the women in these collective stories to refer to products not as the items they are but, rather, by the name brand associated with the product.
A purse cannot be just be a purse. It must be called a "Louis Vuitton."
A dress cannot be just a dress. It must be a "Vera Wang."
Almost every article of clothing or accessory must have a name attached to it as if they are speaking of a fine car or wine. Otherwise, it seems as though we, again the uneducated, might not fully comprehend or appreciate the item (or value thereof) being discussed.
Most perplexing, indeed.
In fact, we are inundated by so many name brands it makes one's head spin.
Names such as "Versachi," "Dior," "Gucci," "Chanel," "Givenchy," "Bingenheimer," "Fendi," "Balenciaga" and more - I even made one of these names up but I'll bet some of you can't even tell me which one.
Yet, we are not just learning about clothing. We learn about clothing that seems to suggest -or even, to some extent, "define" - a woman’s own perceived lifetime of roles or identities.
(Photo: June Kfoury relates the story of "Gingy" and others in the Hub Theatre Company of Boston CAST of "LOVE, LOSS AND WHAT I WORE" by Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron now playing at Club Café in Boston, MA. through August 5, 2023. Photo Courtesy Hub Theatre Company of Boston)
(A quick disclaimer: It might be that some of the concepts discussed in the show DO NOT align with ALL women and some concepts may even transcend gender. As an old ad campaign once pointed out, “results may vary.”)
But, for 90 solid minutes (or more), the stories collected in “LOVE, LOSS AND WHAT I WORE” by the Ephron siblings do focus more on the emotional yet strictly symbolic bond between articles of clothing and the persons wearing them, presumably intending to show who or what that person is…or, in some instances, who or what that person isn't.
We hear of how a person chooses a particular item, where they chose it, why they chose it, the-history-and-psychological-reasoning-behind-their-decision-as-to WHY they chose that particular article of clothing (over something else), and, ultimately, reaction to the, sometimes, ‘questionable’ choices.
Again, for those of us uneducated or, at least, "less engaged" in the subject, we learn the important distinction of when and what mandates "revealing" vs "concealing" attire.
(Photo: Nettie Chickering in the Hub Theatre Company of Boston CAST of "LOVE, LOSS AND WHAT I WORE" by Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron now playing at Club Café in Boston, MA. through August 5, 2023. Photo Courtesy Hub Theatre Company of Boston)
The collection of stories - with some reflected in the form of portrait sketches on hangers in order to help punctuate the material - express times of great joy and sorrow, of elation and anger, of inspiration and desperation - and all other emotions therein.
Many times it feels as though there is a symbiotic relationship between a particular article of clothing and the person wearing it.
Some stories are more negative than positive, including some "body-shaming" moments that do not necessarily occur from outside recriminations but rather recriminations from the recipients themselves.
There are also moments recalled of a cancer diagnosis and of a rape and how specific garments each serve as reminders of these respective injustices.
However, even among those that someone might normally turn to for a kind word, or might look up to, or feel there is that one person that is the most positive and supportive of voices - suddenly that same voice (or voices) can turn quite negative and hurt them the most and at the worst possible of times.
(Photo: The CAST of "LOVE, LOSS AND WHAT I WORE": June Kfoury, Evelyn Holley, Nettie Chickering, Lauren Elias and Barbara Douglass from Hub Theatre Company of Boston, now playing at Club Café in Boston, MA. through August 5, 2023. Photo Courtesy Hub Theatre Company of Boston)
Yet, though it all, the stories, as conveyed, allow for moments of great humor, great empathy and even greater poignancy.
People will see or hear things that will resonate in their own lives which is the greatest strength in the Ephrons' script.
The set is simple yet most effective. The music used for transitions between vignettes was perfectly selected.
Most notable was the varied artist sketches on hangers which might appeal to many as they seem reminiscent of a young girl envisioning (with great optimism or enthusiasm) of what certain fashions should be.
Especially in a patriarchal-dominated society that has seen itself "fit" to become less optimistic and enthusiastic for women over the past few years, the "LOSS" part of “LOVE, LOSS AND WHAT I WORE” should seem apparel...uh, apparent.
Yet, as demonstrated by the stories here...these amazing women shall continue to persist.
It is this persistence that will allow them to celebrate a "fashion forward" moment - new days of LOVE as they continue to overcome the LOSS and embrace what they will ultimately FIND themselves achieving.
What they choose to WEAR to best celebrate those moments is...and always should be...their choice.
“LOVE, LOSS AND WHAT I WORE” by the Hub Theatre Company continues at Club Café in Boston through August 5th.
Approximately 90 minutes with no intermission.
Kevin T. Baldwin is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA)
ABOUT THE SHOW
An event ten years in the making! Hub Theatre Company of Boston will conclude the celebration of its 10th anniversary season with the revival of Nora and Delia Ephron's "LOVE, LOSS AND WHAT I WORE," directed by local favorite Paula Plum.
From the acclaimed creators of "When Harry Met Sally" and "Sleepless in Seattle" comes a hilarious and heartwarming play that attempts to answer the age-old question: how do I have a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear?
With odes to first bras, overstuffed purses, tyrannical dressing rooms and outfits that made our mothers cringe, "LOVE, LOSS AND WHAT I WORE" is a love letter to the outfits that got us through life’s ups, downs and everything in between.
Come reminisce with us and take a stroll down your own closet’s memory lane.
Five of Boston’s best dressed actresses –Nettie Chickering, Barbara Douglas, Lauren Elias, Evelyn Holley and June Kfoury – will bring these funny memoirs and intimate musings to the stage under the direction of five-time Elliot Norton Award winner Paula Plum, with Elliot Norton Award winner and Boston's resident fashionista Kiki Samko as assistant director.
Donations of new and gently worn clothing will be collected for charity so, in addition to bringing your friends and family, bring that bridesmaid dress you will never wear again, those shoes that pinch your toes, and those jeans you haven't worn since Bill Clinton was in office - we promise to find them all good homes!
ABOUT HUB THEATRE COMPANY OF BOSTON
HUB THEATRE COMPANY OF BOSTON (HUB) was founded in 2012 to foster creativity among Boston's emerging theatre artists. HUB is a 501(c)(3) non-profit professional non-Equity theatre company committed to entertaining, captivating, socially aware and emotionally engaging theatre in intimate settings. In the interest of cultivating a diverse audience and breaking down barriers between audience and art, all tickets to all performances are Pay-What-You-Can.