Borelians of Port Perry stage 'Love, Loss and What I Wore' by Delia and Nora Ephron

Town Hall 1873 Port Perry

Courtesy of Borelians Facebook page

Joe Szekeres

Local Community Theatre Producer’s Newest Challenge Keeps Her Busy

Carolyn Goff is one busy lady currently.

Not only is she a successful realtor, but she’s also a mom to two adorable children.

She’s also a solid actor in the local community theatre scene. Before the pandemic shut everything down in 2020, Goff appeared as Maggie the Cat in the Borelians of Port Perry’s intriguing production of Tennessee Williams’ ‘Cat on A Hot Tin Roof’. She has studied acting and has trod the boards in other productions.

This month she appears in The Borelians’ staging of Nora and Delia Ephron’s ‘Love, Loss and What I Wore’ after a two-plus year shutdown of all live theatres throughout the country. On top of that, she’s also producing the show and will continue as the producer for the February 2023 show with the Borelians.

Plus having a life outside of all the theatre stuff.

Recently, we met for a morning coffee, and I asked her why she was involved in this capacity. We had been discussing the difference between the community and professional theatre scene firsthand before she stated:

“Is the difference between community and professional theatre scene the pay cheque? We’re taking time away from our families, loved ones, and jobs to do something that we love and can’t live without. To me, being part of that community and being part of a show where we all support one another and grow together as a cast far outweighs someone validating my work or the need for any award recognition.”

I’ve seen several productions staged by the Borelians that I consider top-notch work: ‘August, Osage County’, ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’, ‘The Drawer Boy’ are only three examples.

Now it’s time to tell Nora and Delia Ephron’s story.

Nora Ephron was the screenwriter for ‘Sleepless in Seattle’, ' You’ve Got Mail’, and ‘When Harry Met Sally’. Goff believes Ephron aptly names the titles of her films and plays because audiences will know what they are getting.

The same goes for ‘Love, Loss and What I Wore’.

It is a series of monologues of five women dealing with the themes of love and loss and what these ladies might have worn during these tumultuous times, traumatic times, lovely times, happy times, sad times, and funny times. These themes are the common thread that pulls all these stories together.

Clothing plays a prominent role in the production as the ladies recall what they were wearing at certain times of their lives. Did the clothing allow the women to hide parts of themselves during certain times? Did the clothing help accentuate how they were feeling during certain times?

What specifically drew Goff in wanting to be part of this story?

“It’s a play about relationships and stories and it’s a play that makes us laugh which is what we so desperately need right now as we slowly emerge from a two-plus year hiatus.

Goff believes the laughter from this play makes us feel we are all part of something. The audience will not laugh at caricatures or props or falls. The audience will laugh because they can relate. They inherently know and understand what’s going on as these women are not stereotypical. They’re real humans with real stories that are embarrassing, and lovely and will sometimes bring a tear to the eye.

‘Love, Loss and What I Wore’ is another of those actor pieces and what I call ‘Reader’s Theatre’. The original production normally involved New York/Los Angeles actors sitting on the stage with music stands and the scripts in front of them. The audience then listens as the actors read from the scripts. The staging is akin to A.R. Gurney’s ‘Love Letters’ where the actors sit side by side with the scripts in front of them.

This ‘Reader’s Theatre’ approach usually meant there wasn’t the need for a great deal of rehearsal time and that casts could change with little preparation involved since there was no memorization of lines.

Goff said the decision was made in the Borelians production not to do that:

“This is what has been interesting post-Covid even though we’re still not out of it yet. Audiences and actors are hungry for social interaction and to be entertained…when we were approached to do the play, all of us agreed how much we loved the script, but we did not want just to read it in front of an audience…we are performing it…everything will be memorized.”

Since the production centres on the stories and lives of women, will this story appeal to men?

Goff loved this question when I posed it to her. She’s been thinking about this question recently regarding if men can be interested in ‘Love, Loss and What I Wore’:

“Theatre is about storytelling, and storytelling in essence is about learning which leads to growth. I don’t believe storytelling is gender specific. The more that we learn about one another and our journeys and stories, the more we learn about each other. Storytelling is learning from experiences and just because these women identify as women doesn’t mean that their stories aren’t valid, and I think, regardless of gender, believe audiences are going to empathize, relate to being touched and, most importantly, laugh which I think is needed so much right now.”

Rehearsals for ‘Love, Loss and What I Wore’ began at the end of May. Most of the play is in monologue format, so much of that work was completed during the actor’s time at home. Goff is extremely proud of the entire cast for choosing not just to go with simply reading the script but delving deep into the text through memorization and performance.

Along with Carolyn as producer and actor, other performers include Annette Stokes, Joanne Norman, Amy Caughlin and Lara Stokes. Helen Coughlin is Director.

Performances of ‘Love, Loss and What I Wore’ are on October 14, 15, 21 and 22 at 8 pm with 2 pm matinees on October 15 and 22. To learn more about the Borelians and purchase tickets online, please visit www.borelians.ca.

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