Sunday, February 27, 2011

WLS Theater Review: "Love, Loss, and What I Wore"

Scientists tell us that memories stored in the brain can be triggered by certain smells, sounds, and sights.  But what about the memories triggered by a certain outfit, accessory, or bag you once used.  Can our clothing and apparels be just as important in marking time, relationships, and life changes? According to Delia and Nora Ephron's play Love, Loss and What I Wore you bet your sweet bra they can!

This fun and touching play, now featuring the irrepressible Kim Zimmer (OLTL, STEAMBOAT), examines how various characters recount significant events in their life via outfits in their closet.  Topics such as relationships with mothers, sisters, husbands, weight gain, aging, illness, financial struggles, mothering, and even Madonna, are all touched upon through the lens of clothes worn at certain landmarks.  There are moments of levity (frequently provided by Zimmer, Tony nominated Orfeh, and 30 ROCK’s Katrina Bowden), moments of nostalgia and sentimentality, and some of emotional gravitas.  When Sabrina La Beauf (THE COSBY SHOW) shares the process of coping with a cancer diagnosis, you are right there with her feeling terrified and resilient.  When Barbara Rhoades (ex-GENERATIONS) discusses feeling left out and ignored as an aging woman in a department store, you can’t help but feel the loss and despair that comes from such an experience.

What is lacking for me in Love, Loss, and What I Wore is any sense of anger or outrage that can often times be a natural and healthy response to the confines of placing one’s identity into symbolic expressions.  There are plenty of remarks and frustrations to go around about dresses, purses, shoes, “toe cleavage,” pressures to stay thin, sleeveless turtleneck sweaters, and jumpsuits.  Yet there is no apparent critique or challenge to oppressive patriarchal systems that create and sustain societal limitations placed on women.  The Ephrons seem content to ignore the third wave feminism paradigm of the past thirty years which seeks to confront and challenge harmful traditional structures.  In other words, the characters in this piece may be upset about their bras but they’re sure not going to burn them!

Nevertheless, the play offers a warm and fun experience.  The intimate setting of The West Side Theater in Manhattan enables one to feel like they are being welcomed into the living room of the actresses and getting the opportunity to share in her most private moments.  The individual audience members, male and female, come away feeling validated, reflected, and more importantly, a sense that each of us can survive love, loss, and some very embarrassing outfits. 

Here's the S.A.S.S. (Short Attention Soap Summary):

WHAT IS IT: Love, Loss, What I Wore, written by Delia and Nora Ephron, now playing at The Westside Theater 407 W. 43rd Street, in New York City. 

Remember when daytime soaps actually dealt with human feelings and intimate moments?  You know, before mobsters, tornadoes, plane crashes, and evil twins took over?  This play will appeal to soap fans who cherish the joy of experiencing the minutia of daily life in their entertainment. 

BOTTOM LINE: If you ever enjoyed Zimmer’s sassy and resilient spirit on GUIDING LIGHT, ONE LIFE TO LIVE, or THE DOCTORS, then you will not want to miss the opportunity to see Zimmer do her thing without without camera cutaways and editing.  Plus those of us who remember the first few months of NBC’s short-lived GENERATIONS will appreciate seeing Rhoades (“Jessica”) back in action.   

VERDICT: You’ll go through your own “loss” if you miss this play!  Buy your tickets here.  Use Kim Zimmer’s special discount LLSKZ75 to get seats for $45!

Related Items
- WLS #2.34 - Interviews with Kim Zimmer, Barbara Rhoades, and Orfeh 
- WLS #2.35 - Interviews with Sabrina Le Beauf and Katrina Bowden

Damon L. Jacobs is a Licensed Therapist now accepting new clients in New York City.  He is also the author of the popular book "Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve," currently available at For more information about scheduling an appointment, please email him at [email protected].

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