‘Love, loss and what I wore’ play review

by TOM WELCH

Special to the Sounder

Doug Bechtel’s staging of Nora and Delia Ephron’s play “Love, Loss and What I Wore,” at the Grange is proof once again of his unerring eye for casting.

The four ladies who comprise the ‘ensemble’ of actors that will appear in every performance are each a delight. His casting of Mary Bayley as the first Gingy, the one role that will change actors each night, was a great selection. Her engaging manner and physicality made Gingy come alive in a way that was uniquely her own, and the audience approved wholeheartedly. Bayley was a treat.

DD Glaze, Regina Zwilling, Bev Jensen, and Luann Pamatian, the ensemble cast, were each superb in her various roles. Ilene Beckerman’s book, which formed the basis for this play, treats, in rapid succession, feminine subjects that men might find normally range from banal to mysterious to simply incredible. Surprising to me, a male of the species, was the actors’ ability to utter, in a completely natural way, lines that would normally turn me bright red and inside out. My “squirm meter” didn’t redline once. The other men and women in the audience, on the other hand, seemed to identify with every pithy comment the cast members made, and made it known.

I would happily sit and listen to DD Glaze read the dictionary, her voice is so soft and warm. Regina Zwilling has a certain “knowing” perspective that perfectly matches her carefully-arched eyebrow, and Bev Jensen seems like she’s talking to you over the backyard fence. Luann Pamatian is a stylish, classy lady who can “dish” with the best of them. Each fit their role to perfection, forming an ensemble that is just the right counterpoint to Gingy’’s narration and her own explication.

This play fits our island midsummer nights to perfection, and offers a tremendous amount of laughs to women from teens to that certain age. Men, you’re on your own: some of you will find it hilarious, while others will be known by how far they manage to slink down into those marvelous new seats. Bechtel and his terrific crew at the Actors Theater of Orcas Island have brought us just what the doctor ordered – a ton of laughs.

“Love, Loss & What I Wore” plays at the Grange at 7:30 p.m. on July 19, 20, 26, 27 and 28. Phoebe Hershenow will play Gingy on July 28. Tickets are $10 at the door, or at Darvills.