A Sisterhood of Support in ‘Love, Loss and What I Wore’ At Southampton Arts Center

The cast of "Love, Loss and What I Wore" at the Southampton Arts Center. Photo courtesy of Amy Kirwin.

On Saturday, October 19, Southampton Arts Center (SAC) and the Coalition for Women’s Cancers at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital will present performances of the play “Love, Loss and What I Wore” at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. in observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month & National Mammography Day.

Directed by Valerie diLorenzo, the script by sisters Nora and Delia Ephron features a cast of 13 who tell funny, wistful and universal memories about families and loved ones through the prism of their closets. The through-line is narrated by Gingy, a wise older woman who reminisces about what she wore at milestones in her life — complete with sketches of the styles.

The play began with the 1995 book “Love, Loss and What I Wore,” in which Ilene “Gingy” Beckerman offered simple descriptions and colorful illustrations of outfits she had donned throughout her life. The book begins in the 1940s with the Brownie uniform and pleated skirts of childhood and is followed by glamorous gowns of the author’s teen years, the mundane fashions typical of a young wife and pregnant mother in the 1960s, and, finally, more daring togs that marked her life as a divorcee in search of herself.

Beckerman’s collection of cartoon drawings featuring outfits from both the happy and tragic times in her life caught the attention of Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill who published the book and approached playwright, screenwriter and novelist Nora Ephron to write the introduction. That’s when Ephron and Delia optioned the book and penned a stage version of “Love, Loss and What I Wore” which offers fragmented stories about the nostalgic power of women’s clothing. The conversation meanders from a bittersweet story of a stepmother wearing the same style bathrobe as her husband’s late wife (to the dismay of the children) to a couple’s musings of what they wore on their wedding day to a rant about loathing the need to carry a purse. With odes to black clothing, cowboy boots and outfits that makes mothers cringe, “Love, Loss and What I Wore” is unabashedly girly — in a good way.

The cast includes Carolann DiPirro, Rebecca Edana, Bridget Fleming, Georgette Grier-Key, Ruby Jackson, Amy Kirwin, Angela LaGreca, Jenna Mate, Kate Mueth, Minerva Perez, Andrea Schiavoni, and Susan Stout.

“This wonderful play is funny, poignant, touching, and very relatable,” says Amy Kirwin, Southampton Arts Center Artistic Director. “We are thrilled to follow up the successful presentation of “The Vagina Monologues” with another all-female production made up of many of the same talented cast members. And it is an honor to partner with the Coalition for Women’s Cancers at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital in conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Month to add an extra level of importance to this event.”

Shows are at 2 and 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 19 at Southampton Arts Center, 25 Jobs Lane, Southampton. Admission is $20 ($15 for friends of SAC) with a portion of the proceeds benefitting the Coalition for Women’s Cancers at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital who will also be on site for mammogram appointments and a special raffle. For tickets visit southamptonartscenter.org.