Love, Loss, and What I Wore discusses matters of the heart and matters of the closet. Chanelle Tourish talks to Dubai-based actress, Sara Farah, about a show ‘for men and women’…
If there was ever a play dedicated to the lives of women, Love, Loss, and What I Wore, is it. Written by Nora and Delia Ephron, the play is based on the 1995 book of the same name by Ilene Beckerman. Nora Ephron was a writer, director and producer who received three Academy Award nominations for Original Screenplays, When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle. She occasionally co-authored screenplays with her sister, writer-producer Deila Ephron, including You’ve Got Mail and Bewitched.
Showcasing at The Madinat Theatre from October 16 to 18, the play has been produced as a series of monologues where women’s relationships and wardrobes are discussed – the wardrobe being a representative time capsule of a woman’s life.
‘It’s a rather beautiful play and it’s played with four or five actresses. It’s basically storytelling and these stories seek to eliminate the female identity and the wardrobe is a running theme throughout the play. The clothing is used as a kind of metaphor for women’s experiences,’ explains Sara Farah, actress in Love, Loss and What I Wore.
The show is a scrapbook of stories about unfortunate prom dresses, the traumatic lighting in fitting rooms, high heels, short skirts and the existential state of having nothing to wear. The more sentimental tales have a strong emotional element, and highlight the painful impact that a dress or a pair of shoes can assume at pivotal moments in women’s lives.
‘The stories range from comic stories to sad and sentimental issues as well. It’s not really a sad play. As soon as it gets emotional, it turns to comedy and back. It’s really a show for both men and women. Men often leave the theatre with a real insight into what goes on in a woman’s mind and in her life. So it’s actually really interesting and intriguing for them. It’s an eye-opener and I think men will be able to relate to it too,’ says Sara.
Accessorising the tales in the play, are the mothers who disapprove, the men who disappear, and the sisters who’ve got your back.
‘There are no lead roles as such, it’s four actresses on stage. When people read about the play they often think it’s just about female identity and clothing but when you go into it on a deeper level, it’s an extremely touching play,’ says Sara. ‘Every woman can relate to it on some level. The timing is so important in this play as well as the language and depth of the story-telling.’
The play has been produced on six continents and in more than eight countries. It was initially presented as part of the 2008 summer series at Guild Hall in East Hampton, New York, and followed as a benefit series at the city’s DR2 Theatre in early 2009. Later the same year, the show was produced Off-Broadway as an ongoing commercial theatrical production at the Westside Theatre where it continued to showcase as the second longest running show in the theatre’s history.
The four actresses in the Dubai play will be seated throughout the entire performance with a simple stage structure and no props, dressed entirely in black.
‘Because we flutter between characters it’s very important to be dressed simply on the outside so that the audience doesn’t look at us and identify us with one type of personality,’ says Sara.
Born in Dubai, Sara spent ten years in the region before being educated in the UK. After finishing her studies, she decided to pursue her passion for acting and move to London. This decision then led her to continue her training in New York, where she attended drama school for three years, perfecting the discipline.
‘I tell about five different stories so I’m really reliving five different characters. I can relate to one or two of them but some of them are completely my opposite. It’s exciting because you get to flutter between these roles and it’s challenging at the same time as an actress. I spend a lot of time with the director so that I can be prepared for the roles.’
Particular comical moments in the play include monologues devoted to the agonies that women suffer in the dressing room, the mortifications of bra-buying and the wounding words of mothers.
‘It’s really stories about our first experiences and what it meant to us and how we felt at the time and the person that we were then,’ Sara explains.
The popular show will no doubt be a sell-out, with tickets going fast, so book as early as possible.
From Dhs150-Dhs175. October 16-17 at 8pm; October 18 at 7pm. Madinat Theatre, Souk Madinat, Umm Suqeim (04 366 6546).