LATHAM — “You have such a pretty face. You could be so attractive if you lost a little weight.”
Five of the area’s most accomplished performers (Amy Lane, Cristine M. Loffredo, Maryhelen Lounello, Barbara Richards, and Jennifer Van Iderstyne) are now on stage at Curtain Call Theatre in “Love, Loss, and What I Wore,” by the sisters Ephron, Nora & Delia.
‘Love, Loss, and What I Wore’
WHERE: Curtain Call Theatre, 210 Old Loudon Rd., Latham
WHEN: Thurs.-Sun., through Aug. 20
HOW MUCH: $24
MORE INFO: 877-7529, or curtaincalltheatre.com
With what appears to be extraordinary ease (the mark of terrific acting), they vividly explore the relationship of females, both young and old, to clothing/body image. The title says it all: in good times or bad, having the right outfit is key to experiencing the moment. And when, years later, you sort through the closet of your life, you might just find all of those events neatly arranged on hangers.
Based on a book by Ilene Beckerman, the 70-minute, uninterrupted show is a series of monologues, dialogues, and fugal riffs on various sartorial topics: dresses, high heels, colors, boots, bras, purses, material, outfits — and trying it all on!
Beyond the script’s considerable humor, the Ephrons also make us think about clothing in larger cultural terms. Couture? Fashion? Style? If these issues seem a shade less compelling than the topic of sex in Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues,” both scripts thoughtfully address the idea of social constructs. There’s a particularly funny and poignant monologue by Lounello, who makes us consider the pluses and perils of high heels: why would a woman subject her little toes to such trauma? Ah, so her calves can look sexy. To whom? To men. And who has traditionally run the fashion industry? Men. Hmmmm.
The evening then is a meditation on an aspect of culture that males — with fewer options before them — don’t wrestle with to the same degree. (I do, however, now have a man bag, so I identify with Loffredo’s hilarious take on purses/bags.)
Curtain Call’s founder and artistic director, Carol Max, is at the helm of this show, and she has the actresses use stage, steps and floor to deliver the comedy and drama right into the audience’s lap. Smart move: this quintet knows how to break the fourth wall without making us feel overwhelmed, just involved. Indeed, the whole evening is like a conversation among friends, even when a couple of the monologues become impassioned. (Who doesn’t have a friend that occasionally needs to vent?)
Rear wall projections (Jay Spriggs) complement the text, and subtle lighting shifts (Eric Norbury) help delineate the beginning and ending of each scene. And we can’t forget the contributions of stage manager Rachael Sheffer.
In the 1950s I remember my parents getting ready for a night out. Dad was always dressed on time (one-size-fits-all-occasions jacket and tie), but my beloved mom — not so much. I’m beginning to understand why.