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Love, Loss and What I Wore: On Stage in Visalia

IN THE November 20 ISSUE

FROM THE 2013 Articles SECTIONS

by Nancy Holley

Special KRL coupon code at the end of this article.

If you are a woman or ever had a woman in your life, Love, Loss and What I Wore is for you. The play’s storyline of memories evoked by clothing is based on the best-selling book by Ilene Beckerman as well as stories associated with friends of the playwrights Nora and Delia Ephron.

The format for the production is Reader’s Theatre, which provides a venue for story telling without props, costumes, or staging detracting from the importance of the dialogue and the message. Irene Morse (Gingy) says, “Everyone likes to have a story told to them and this play is story telling at its best.” Morse describes Gingy as a typical woman with emotional attachments to her clothes. “Gingy tells the story of her life through her dresses.”

(from left to right): Kim Gunter, Melinda Hatfield, Donna Johnston, and Mikki Verissimo

The series of vignettes, which move the play along, give the actors an opportunity to portray multiple characters. Donna Johnston has the most characters with nine. Johnston likes them all, but the characters of Merrill, a girl who has a difficult experience at Berkley, and Geralyn, who has health issues, came naturally to her. She finds their stories run the gamut from light hearted to pathos, and then to an uplifting resolution.

Kim Gunter (Rosie/Lynne/Nora) loves her characters. “Rosie’s story is iconic and based on Rosie O’Donnell. Lynne is from the south and very close to some of my relatives.” Gunter assumes that Nora is loosely based on a story from one of the playwrights. “Other cast members wanted to portray Nora, but I wouldn’t give her up.”

“My characters are strong, resilient, roll with the punches, and still manage to keep a sense of humor,” quips Melinda Hatfield, who relates to these women through her own experiences. “The scene as Amanda is my favorite. It really develops and comes together at the end.”

Mikki Verissimo has been out of theater for some time as she filled the roles of fulltime wife, mom, and career woman. Coming back to the theater has allowed her to connect with other women and feed her soul. “This show was for me. I love fashion and can relate to every one of the stories.”

(from left to right): Irene Morse, Kim Gunter, Melinda Hatfield, Donna Johnston, and Mikki Verissimo

Director Samantha Muse and Assistant Director Sergio Garza are very excited about the show. Muse loves the happy stories, the sad stories, and the girl power. Garza says, “something special about a show that can captivate you and transport you to another place through the use of words alone.”

Cast members and directors emphasize that the play is very funny, yet poignant. “No one writes comedy and pathos as Nora and Delia Ephron do,” states Morse.

Garza commented, “Everyone will connect with these women either personally or through friends.”

If you are a “Black Friday” shopper, Love, Loss and What I Wore might be the perfect way to relax after a stressful day of bargain hunting!

On Sunday December 1 after the matinee, a “talk back” will be hosted by Sharon DeCoux, a veteran Visalia Player. Audience members will have an opportunity for a behind the scenes look at the show and the opportunity to ask questions and interact with the actors.

Love, Loss and What I Wore opens at the Ice House Theater at Race and Santa Fe in Visalia at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, November 22, 2013 and runs for three weekends with evening performances at 7:30 p.m. on 11/22, 11/23, 11/29, 11/30, 12/6, and 12/7and matinees at 2:00 p.m. on 11/24, 12/1, and 12/8.

For more information about the Visalia Community Players and to purchase tickets, check out their website and KRL’s article about VCP. Tickets may also be purchased by calling 734-3900. For details about local arts groups in Tulare County, visit the Visalia Arts Consortium website.

Check out more local theatre reviews this week right here in KRL & even more theatre reviews & articles in our Arts & Entertainment section!

To purchase two tickets for the price of one, enter KRLLLW in the Have a code? box on the Buy/Redeem Tickets Reservation page via the Players website Ticketing information page.

Nancy Holley has been involved in the Visalia Community Players off and on since the 1970s, both as a director and actor. In 2010, she retired from 25 years as a software consultant and has since expanded her role at the Players. She is now responsible for Box Office/Hosting volunteers and assisting with launching the Players new on-line ticketing system.

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