Hub’s ‘What I Wore’ is humorous, heartfelt
BOSTON — There is a deep emotional attachment between woman and their clothes. Actually, between women, their clothes, their shoes and other assorted accessories.
When it comes to important events in their lives, women can recall not only the event, but what they were wearing at the time.
That’s the belief of author Ilene Beckerman, whose book begat the Hub Theatre Company of Boston’s Boston premiere of “Love, Loss and What I Wore,” a play by Delia and Nora Ephron, based on Beckerman’s book.
It is an engaging, touching, often poignant 75-minute look at the emotional connection between clothing and women, a connection that begins early in life and only seems to deepen and strengthen through the years.
Last weekend, the production opened at the First Church in Boston on Marlborough Street in the Back Bay, at the tail end of one of the city’s longest and worst heat waves in years. An in-room air conditioner struggled mightily to keep up with the heat but the conditions didn’t faze the performers and didn’t affect their performances.
As you might expect in a show written by the Ephron sisters , the one-liners flow fast and furious, the tone staying light. June Kfoury is Gingy, whose life story and sartorial choices will be chronicled along with her various affairs, marriages and divorces, and who illustrate her choices with a series of sketches showing the various dresses of her life.
We will make the journey with her from childhood through good times and tumultuous times; her story is at the emotional center of the piece.
Then there are the freestyle riffs on various subjects: ‘bras,” with hilarious anecdotes including embarrassing moments involving training bras, or blow-up bras; wedding dresses; those ever-sexy boots; the cries of“I Have Nothing to Wear” or the plain and pleasure of high heels vs. the comfort of Birkenstocks.
The company will have you in tears when they describe outfits that made their mothers cringe. Perhaps my favorite was an extended riff on handbags, including Lauren Elias’ story about the $5,600 Kelly bag and the time “I packed so much stuff in my Prada backpack I looked like a Sherpa.”
There’s also hilarious bits about obsession with the color black, the pains and pleasures of botox, and even a very powerful — and funny — bit about a women who saw in a breast reconstruction after a mastectomy as a chance to “go Baywatch.”
The entire company is just fine, from the aforementioned Khoury and Elias to Theresa Chiasson, Linda Geotz and Adobuere Ebiama. Director Paula Plum has molded a group of actresses of disparate ages and experiences into a cohesive ensemble, in a production well worth seeing.
The company is in a “pay what you can” mode and is accepting contributions of new or gently-used women’s clothing for area charities.
The Hub Theatre Company production of “Love, Loss and What I Wore,” by Nora and Delia Ephron based on the book by Ilene Beckerman. Directed by Paula Plum At the First Church in Boston, 66 Marlborough St., Boston through Aug. 3. Hubtheatreboston.org.