First Folio’s new production, “Love, Loss and What I Wore” is a hoot! Since I could totally relate to almost every wardrobe anecdote, I ended up laughing until my cheeks hurt. When I thought about it afterwards, I realized that the major occasions in my life have been defined by my clothes, just like these women. Ladies, you’ll want to get your girlfriends together, this is the play for you! I give “Love, Loss and What I Wore” 4 Spotlights.
Barbara Figgins plays ‘Gingi’, who said she sat down one day and started drawing pictures of the clothes she’d worn on the important days in her life. She wanted to share those times with her children, and she remembered them by the clothes she’d worn. As she talks about each outfit, Danielle Davis, Lydia Berger Gray, Lindsey Pearlman and Hayley Rice, strut onstage to model a banner with a drawing of that dress, everything from her Brownie uniform to a dress she’d worn for her wedding. By the way, as she struts, Pearlman’s poses and facial expressions draw lots of laughs.Although each has at least one monologue, many of the anecdotes are group efforts – like the one about your/my mother’s taste in clothes – which includes self-confidence building remarks like, “Are you wearing that?”, “You think you’re going out wearing that?”, or “I don’t understand, you could look so good if you tried”.
One of my favorites – looking in the closet only to notice that “I have nothing to wear” or “Why did I buy that?” or “I should get rid of this, I haven’t worn it in two years.”
Shopping for that first bra was a universally embarrassing experience, while a wardrobe malfunction – especially when wearing a paper dress (a regrettable fad) – could be downright traumatic.
The ladies muse about first date outfits, prom dresses, wedding dresses, dresses for weddings and the importance of black to any woman’s wardrobe. There was a monologue about a favorite pair of boots, another about heels a third about purses!
There’s a segment about the influence of Madonna on fashion, which leads with the provocative statement that “Any American woman under 40 who says she’s never dressed as Madonna is either lying or Amish”. The ladies coordinate their clothes to her hits and then dance away.
Although I didn’t see the Broadway production on its first tour stop in Chicago, I did see pictures. The cast, wearing black, sat on stools/chairs ranged across an empty stage. It seemed kind of static to me. In this production, the ladies are in constant motion on Joanna Iwanicka’s charming set, which features four department store-type dressing rooms equipped with swinging doors.
“Love, Loss and What I Wore” really resonated with the women in the audience, but the men in our lives found it funny too. I enjoyed it so much I requested the book from my local library.
“Love, Loss and What I Wore” runs through April 25th at First Folio Theatre, Mayslake Peabody estate, 1717 31st St., just off Rt. 83, Oak Brook.
Performances are Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 8:00 pm; Thursday and Sunday at 3:00 pm. Running time is 90 minutes, no intermission. Tickets range from $29-$39. Parking is free. FYI (630) 986-8067 or www.firstfolio.org.
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-up and click at “Love, Loss and What I Wore”