Love, Loss, and What I Wore

Love, Loss, and What I Wore is adapted by Nora and Delia Ephron from a wee little picture book by Ilene Beckerman—for sale, perhaps, at your local Hallmark store, though it's far less sentimental than one might expect—interlaced with new material and at least one of Nora's previously published essays.

It's a tidy collection of clichés, to be sure, though what makes it clichéd is also what makes it universal: the horrors of the dressing room, the emptiness of a closet filled to bursting with nothing to wear, the neverending search for the perfect purse, the humiliation of bra fittings and prom dresses, the ubiquity of black, the war between heels and flats, the courage of boots, the judgment of mothers, the mercy of mothers, the unexpected arrival of one's period at the worst possible moment, what we wear to show off and what we wear to hide in. Breast cancer, childbirth, the loss of a child, the loss of a parent, falling in love, getting married, getting divorced, the steady shape of best friends and the fierce loyalty of sisters. The clichés also bring the surprises into sharper relief, as with a pair of stories relayed simultaneously by two women that weave unexpectedly together at the end. Alternately merry and moving, it's a bravura celebration not of what we wore so much as who we were when we wore it, the experiences recognizable even if the clothes are not.

This is a reading, not a staged play, thus tailor made for both actress and audience asides (the mention of Eileen Fisher drew both), and delivered by a rotating group of five performers, in this case ranging in age from their 20s to their 70s: Lisa Joyce, Mary Birdsong, Jane Lynch (JANE LYNCH!), the redoubtable Tyne Daly, and the equally redoubtable Mary Louise Wilson. Surely it will be playing in your own neighborhood one day soon; see it with a woman you treasure.