Locals bring ‘Love, Loss, and What I Wore’ to Aspen stage | AspenTimes.com

Locals bring ‘Love, Loss, and What I Wore’ to Aspen stage

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

Contributed photo

ASPEN – It doesn’t matter what you wear to “Love, Loss, and What I Wore” – unless your boyfriend dumps you right after the show.

More likely, you’ll leave laughing and won’t remember what you were wearing the night you saw the performance.

Four local actors have brought the off-Broadway hit to Aspen for a four-night (and counting) run that continues Wednesday and Thursday at the Mountain Chalet, where it was standing-room only by last week’s second show.

The play, by sibling screenwriters Nora and Delia Ephron (think “When Harry Met Sally, “You’ve Got Mail”), inspired by Ilene Beckerman’s book of the same name, features monologues by a seated cast of women, interspersed with interaction between characters, and a central theme – memories of life’s events and the clothes one was wearing at the time.

Written for a cast of five, the local production has pared it down to four actors – Jeannie Walla, Nina Gabianelli, Eileen Seeley and Jennifer Michaud – not for lack of a sufficient talent pool, but because jugging the schedules of four participants was difficult enough, said Walla, the production’s instigator.

Walla purchased the script at her daughter’s urging and showed it to Gabianelli, who immediately signed on. They chose Seeley and Michaud to round out the group and began rehearsing, though, according to Walla, the foursome rarely found time to meet together.

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Seeley’s resume includes film and television roles; her fellow cast members are all known for their work at Aspen’s former Crystal Palace, among numerous other local theatrical pursuits. They tabbed Pat Holloran, a former member of the Palace cast and director of several Aspen Community Theatre productions, to direct and interject a male perspective.

The result might be “chick theater,” but it offers something for everyone.

“I have told guys, if you come, you will learn things about women that you will treasure forever,” Walla said. “So far, I haven’t heard a guy complain.”

Delia Ephron reportedly quipped that “if the show was about men, it would be ‘Love, Loss and What I Drove,'” but Gabianelli contends that men connect fashion with life, just as women do. But, while women keep up with the latest wardrobe trends, men keep wearing whatever they wore when they were happiest (think about it).

The play features bits on purses, heels, bras and things your mother said: “Take that off, you look like a slut.”

While the show isn’t nonstop one-liners (“Any American woman under 40 who says she’s never dressed as Madonna is either lying or Amish”), its serious moments are poignant rather than maudlin, Walla said.

“The show has a lot of compassion. Most of the people who laugh, they’re laughing with us, not at us,” she said.

Audiences are cautioned though, about the show’s adult content and language. It’s not that an adolescent girl hasn’t heard it all before, but youngster and parent would likely both squirm if they had to hear it together, Walla explained.

“You’ll enjoy it so much more if you come with your girlfriends, not with your daughter – unless your daughter’s 22,” she said.

Bringing the show to Aspen this summer feels particularly timely, said Gabianelli, noting the recent passing of Nora Ephron (who planned her own memorial, reportedly filing instructions in a folder marked “exit”). In addition to her screenwriting credits, Ephron authored “I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman” and “I Remember Nothing: and Other Reflections” among other books.

Walla and Gabianelli have thoughts on bringing her work to the stage – mainly that they’re not finished. On Monday, they were making calls and discussing a reprise even before Thursday’s closing night.

“I’m not done with this show. I’m not burning my script,” Walla said.

janet@aspentimes.com