When the Ephron sisters, Nora and Delia, first read the original manuscript of Love, Loss, and What I Wore back in 1995, they discovered a kindred spirit in author Ilene Beckerman, but they didn’t just sit around and enjoy it; they celebrated their find in a way that only two of Hollywood’s most successful screenwriters would. Nora wrote the introduction to Beckerman’s book, and the sisters together gave the text to dozens of their friends, before soliciting stories from more than 100 people for a collaborative stage version of the work. More than a decade in the making, the dramatic version of Love, Loss, and What I Wore got its start at Guild Hall in East Hampton in 2008, and before that year was up, it had become an off-Broadway hit. Today, it’s one of the world’s most popular “unique theatrical experiences,” as it was described by the Drama Desk Awards in 2010.
The concept behind the show is simple — in a series of monologues, six women portray turning points in their lives through descriptions of the clothing they were wearing at the time. Only the show is not limited to anything so predictable as an inventory of these women’s closets. There are prom dresses and high heels, but there are also designer handbags with stories to tell. The result of this process is that clothing becomes a lens through which these characters not only see themselves but share essential insights about their experiences as women. The performers in this production include many who are familiar to Santa Barbara theatergoers: Meredith McMinn, Katie Thatcher, Shannon Saleh, Lara Hollaway, Allison Threadgold, and Aden Hailu will all be ably directed by Asa Olsson. Another exciting feature of this production is that it will be offered for free at a variety of female-friendly venues: Friday, June 14, at 7 p.m. at Java Station (4447 Hollister Ave.); Saturday, June 15, at 2 p.m. at Porch (3823 Santa Claus Ln., Carpinteria) and 7 p.m. at Taffy’s Pizza (2026 De la Vina St.); Sunday, June 16, at 7 p.m. at Carpinteria Woman’s Club (1059 Vallecito Rd., Carpinteria);and Monday, June 17, at 6 p.m. at Municipal Winery (22 Anacapa St.). To RSVP to a show, email email@example.com.