As a lover of fashion, my editor here at Jasper assumed I’d be a great fit to review Love, Loss, and What I Wore at Trustus Theatre. I was a little worried that this show wouldn’t be for me. I hate conventional shopping and consumerism (99% of my wardrobe comes from local thrift stores), and I was worried that this show was going to be some sort of Sex and the City knockoff - more style than substance.
Based on the book by Ilene Beckerman, the stage adaptation by Nora and Delia Ephron explores the adventures, loves, friendships, and tragedies of an array of women, and how the fibers of the clothes they’ve worn through the years are forever entwined with their memories and the women they’ve become. This is something that just about any woman (life-long nudists excluded), can understand. We all remember what we wore for our first dates and for our first dances. We remember that really hideous orange leather jacket that seems tres chic in high school, but we wouldn’t be caught dead in now. Objects have power when tied to memories, and what objects do we share a more personal relationship with than our clothes? They are expressions of who we are and how we want the world to see us.
The five women of this ensemble cast are Amy Brower, Emily Deck Harrill, Tiffany James, Jodie Cain Smith, and Caroline Weidner. They each play several different characters, each with their own unique stories. Some are moving, while others are hysterically funny. Each actress does a fine job, and with a show like this, where each of the women play off each other in such an intimate way, I would find it inappropriate to point out individuals. Director Larry Hembree has done a superb job of getting a multitude of compelling characters from his cast. The renderings of decades of fashions by USC Art student Miranda Fuller give us a visual landscape as we travel through each woman’s life. That being said, I found a few of the vignettes to be trite and formulaically crafted to elicit an emotional response without any real character development, but overall this show is well-written.
Love, Loss, and What I Wore works well in the intimate Side Door Theatre at Trustus, due to its minimalist requirements. A cast of five, a few chairs, a bar, and a slightly judgmental guy on guitar (who also happens to be the show’s musical director, Jeremy Polley) are all this production requires…oh yes…and a few drinks to loosen up the memories.
Are you excited about this production? Do you want to gather your girlfriends and check it out? Well…I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Love, Loss, and What I Wore is completely sold out (even after adding on an additional Sunday matinee.) However, perhaps if you pester Larry Hembree (he’s not just the show’s director, he’s also the Managing Director of Trustus Theatre), they’ll bring it back. This has happened before. (And there's always the option to call the box office to check on any last-minute cancellations, and/or to see if there is any sort of waiting list in case of no-shows.)
~ Jillian Owens
Love, Loss, and What I Wore runs through Saturday, January 18th, 2013. Shows on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays start at 8pm. The Sunday matinee on January 12th will be at 3pm. The doors and box office open thirty minutes prior to curtain, and all Trustus Side Door tickets are $20 for general admission and $15 for students. Reservations can be made by calling the Trustus Box Office at (803) 254-9732, and tickets may be purchased online at www.trustus.org . Except that as of now, the rest of the run is SOLD OUT.
The Richard and Debbie Cohn Trustus Side Door Theatre is located at 520 Lady Street, behind the Gervais St. Publix. Parking is available on Lady Street and on Pulaski Street. The Trustus Side Door Theatre entrance is through the glass doors on the Huger St. side of the building. For more information or reservations call the box office Tuesdays through Saturdays 1-6 pm at 803-254-9732. Visit www.trustus.org for all show information and season info.