Imagine stepping into a giant dressing room that includes all of the significant items of clothing youve worn throughout your life.
If that sentence struck a chord with you, youre in the target audience for Olympia Little Theatres Love, Loss and What I Wore, a mostly funny and sometimes touching piece of theater about womens clothes, shoes, purses and lives.
Men in locker rooms talk about things they dont talk about with women, said Toni Holm, president of the theaters board and the shows stage manager. Women in dressing rooms talk about things they dont talk about with men.
The play, by Nora and Delia Ephron and based on the book by Ilene Beckerman, is set up as a series of monologues about significant clothing and events in womens lives.
Theres a section on my first bra, said Kathryn Beall, the shows director and the theaters artistic manager. Theres a section on the closet. Theres a section on the dressing room, about the things women say when they are standing in front of the mirror.
Beall was drawn to the play when she read about it online, and as soon as she began reading the script, she was hooked. As I was reading it, I called Toni about 10 times, saying: We have to do this play. Ive had this conversation with my mother. Ive had this conversation with my friends.
If this sounds like the theatrical version of a chick flick, it is. Reviewing the Broadway production, New York Times critic Charles Isherwood used the phrase chick legit, referring to legitimate theater.
I cant say men wouldnt enjoy the play, but women will enjoy it more, Holm said. Its a bring-your-girlfriends play.
Breezy and perfectly enjoyable for the stray men in the room, its like a big bowl of buttered popcorn (but calorie-free!) for the women who can share deeply in the particulars of experience dissected and discussed, Isherwood wrote.
On Broadway, the show was performed as a staged reading, with famous actresses including Rosie ODonnell and Tyne Daly sitting in chairs.
Were doing it more like a Busby Berkeley musical with a lot of movement, Beall said.
Kathryn has taken a very innovative and very active approach, Holm said. Its very, very funny.
The play also touches on serious subject matter, including breast cancer and rape. Its definitely not suitable for children.
There is also a lot of clothing on stage.
Some of it is on racks; some of it is in their hands; some of it is on displays, Holm said. Some of it they interact with and pass it back and forth.
We have these really cool costumes at OLT that we dont get to use much, Beall said. The vintage ones are made for womens bodies that dont exist right now.
We probably have 1,000 costume pieces on the set. We dont use all of them, but theyre being used as decoration.