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A new experience for local director

By Autumn D. F. Hopkins
Chris Dorst
Charleston Stage Company's "Love, Loss and What I Wore" opens this weekend. The cast for the monologue show is (from left) Jann Hoke, Terry Terpening, Daisy Thomas, Jennifer Anderson, Jessica Smith, Amber Surface, April Ritter and Sheila Jarrett.
WANT TO GO?"Love, Loss and What I Wore"Presented by Charleston Stage CompanyWHEN: 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and April 11-13WHERE: Capitol Center Theater, 123 Summers St. COST: Adults $15, students and seniors $10INFO: 304-343-5272 or www.charlestonstagecompany.comCHARLESTON, W.Va. -- On Thursday night, Charleston Stage Company opens "Love, Loss and What I Wore" a play by Nora Ephron and her daughter, Delia, adapted from a book by Ilene Beckman.Carol Carter, who has been active in local theater for more than 40 years, will direct the show. She began her theatrical career directing for Children's Theatre of Charleston and has worked with the Charleston Light Opera Guild, The Kanawha Players and the former local troupe, the Rising Sons, as both actor and director.Carter had taken a break from theater when she received a call from Stage Company manger Freida Forsley. Soon, she was heading the production, which runs this weekend and next."I had never heard of the show. I hadn't seen it and had to look it up." Carter said. "It is similar to 'The Vagina Monologues.' It is solely about women but not quite as gritty."
She said the show focuses on women, the stories of their lives and how they make an emotional connection with the clothes they wear.She giggled as she described casting the play and how some of the actresses seemed fated to play particular characters. For instance, Terry Terpening, who will perform a monologue titled "I Hate Purses," detests handbags and never carries one. Actress Amber Surface, who will play a bride-to-be, is soon to be married in real life.Carter was unaware of these similarities while casting. She pointed to them as examples of kismet.The play is different from the big musicals and theatrical spectacle of Carter's past. She was intrigued with the ways in which it is so dissimilar from things usually performed on the local stage. There is minimal set design -- only a few bar stools and some music stands for scripts -- and only a few scenes include interaction or dialogue between actors.
The costumes consist of the actors' own clothes; their only instruction being that it should be comfortable and must be black. Poster-size reproductions of the original clothing sketches by Ilene Beckman allow the audience to see what the author envisioned without distraction from loud costumes.Carter described the play's original script as long flowing monologues where several pages go by without paragraph breaks. She had the freedom to pick and choose vignettes, allowing her to tailor the play and give it a more personal feel.The eight women who make up the cast took an active role in the script. Instead of dictating notes line by line, Carter asked them to take the script home and find the natural breaks and breaths. She felt like this gave each actor more ownership of the work.In addition to celebrating women, "Love, Loss and What I Wore" will support women. The final night of the show, April 13, is a joint fundraiser for the Charleston Stage Company and the YWCA's Sojourner's Women's Shelter.Tickets to that performance are $25 and will include a reception afterwards with wine and food. There will be the opportunity to win one of several door prizes, including gift certificates from Mission Savvy Juice Bar Cafe, Adelphia Sports Bar & Grille and Savvy Chic Boutique & Consignment.
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