In Nora and Delia Ephron’s “Love, Loss, and What I Wore,” five actresses play various characters relating significant events in their lives linked to clothing and accessories. Actors Comedy Lab and North Raleigh Arts and Creative Theatre’s co-production is a lighthearted evening presenting situations most women are familiar with and most men have heard about.
The Ephron sisters, known for their romantic comedy films (“Sleepless in Seattle” and “You’ve Got Mail”), applied a similar approach to their 2008 theater piece. Based on the popular book of the same name by Ilene Beckerman, the show also includes material from friends’ reminiscences.
A cross between a reading and a staged play, the performers are seated in front of music stands with scripts. The short monologues and sketches are memorized, the women consulting their scripts as needed, especially for the sections of rapid-fire one-liners on a theme.
The 90-minute one-act is structured around Beckerman’s memories of growing up in New York City. Nicknamed Gingy for her hair color, she relates vignettes about homemade clothes, her first mail-order dress, and what she wore for her three successive weddings. Interspersed are other characters’ tales of prom dresses, first bra purchases and fitting room disappointments.
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Bunny Safron’s Gingy is lovably open about affections outside her marriages and quietly moving about the loss of a child and acceptance of aging. Alison Lawrence impresses with several brassy characters, including one who visits her jailed lover in unmentionably modified pants and another whose diatribe about the perils of owning purses is the evening’s highlight.
Page Purgar contributes funny-sad tales of buying cowboy boots and a paper dress, and has a poignant scene with Amy Bossi-Nasiatka as two women picking outfits for their wedding to each other. Bossi-Nasiatka also provides an affecting account of a cancer patient’s need to look good while in surgery. Kirsten Ehlert offers some perky overviews about wearing gang sweaters and choosing heels over sandals.
Director Rod Rich paces the show snappily, with Nancy Rich’s videos of Gingy’s dress drawings enhancing the show’s themes.
The script has some surprising twists and is often daringly frank, but also perpetuates some stereotypes and allows for little character development. But the production radiates such warmth and intimacy that it’s sure to bring on smiles and nods.
What: “Love, Loss, and What I Wore” presented by Actors Comedy Lab and NRACT
Where: North Raleigh Arts and Creative Theatre, 7713-51 Lead Mine Road, Raleigh
When: 8 p.m. June 12-13; 3 p.m. June 14
Tickets: $13-$15 (students/seniors/military/teachers $3 off)
Info: 919-866-0228 or nract.org