Getting to Know the Producer and Director
This month, Theatre Du Jour’sTammyWilkinson and director Moe Harrington bring us Nora Ephron’s “Love, Loss, and What I Wore.”
Moe and Tammy casted members of the Central NewYork community, including our very own editor, Lorna Oppedisano, to be part of this performance. “Love, Loss, andWhat IWore” is a play of monologues and ensemble pieces about women, clothes and memory covering all the important subjects — mothers, prom dresses, mothers, buying bras, mothers, hating purses and why we only wear black.
We chatted with Moe and Tammy to learn more about the performance.
SWM: Give us a short synopsis of “Love, Loss, and What I Wore.” What can we expect from the show?
Tammy: Lighthearted and witty, “Love, Loss and What I Wore” is perfect for a girls’ night out or date night. Some have called it a chick flick for the stage. That’s a fair assessment. It has all the qualities of a great chick flick: relatable characters and quotable comedy with the right amount of sentimental moments mixed in.
Moe: You can expect to feel surprised, engaged, nostalgic, thrilled and flooded with your own memories. Remember that purse your mother carried? The smell of that perfume your aunt wore?
SWM: What drew you to this show in particular?
Moe: I’ve always loved Nora Ephron, but it was my friend, KJ Leary, who told me about it. The great thing about the show is there is something familiar to everyone.
Tammy: We did “Steel Magnolias” last year and it was such a joy to explore as an interactive reading. We utilized minimal props and staging, really focusing on the actors and story. This show allows for that same simple journey, and the patrons love taking it with us!
SWM: Talk about the process of putting together this show. What was different from a more typical play?
Tammy: With an interactive reading, there’s a huge focus on the story and the actor bringing that story to life. Actors are doing their homework independently and working one-on-one with Moe to bring the stories to life!
Moe: There isn’t a long rehearsal process for this show, given the nature of a different cast every night. That’s the beauty of it: you can prepare, but you never know what’s going to happen.
SWM: How did you decide which people to cast?
Moe: We wanted women of strength, with strong voices, but also women who aren’t afraid of telling a story and being real. Cast members might be people you’ve never seen on a stage before, but always wanted to. How exciting is that?!
Tammy: It’s always been in the back of my mind to craft a cast of community “celebrities.” I longed to involve fellow business owners or rockstar community volunteers, folks who shine in their community but may not have considered “walking the boards,” so to speak! It really elevates the project for so many reasons. We raise awareness for theater. We are able to honor our mission for mentoring — creating an environment where all involved are learning and growing. We just might end up with a few more amazing humans who catch the bug for performing!
SWM: How is the rehearsal process for this show different from a typical performance?
Tammy: We’ll still have tech rehearsals to work out the lighting and sound cues and make sure we are all in-sync, but there will be less traditional blocking and direction driven rehearsals.
Moe: Rehearsal process begins with a get-together with some interesting women. Tech will be set and a rehearsal reading will happen with any questions or concerns answered. And then, it’s showtime!
SWM: Are there any differences people can expect from venue to venue?
Moe: Every show will be different because every reading sparks a different emotion. The pieces that affect me may not affect you in the same way.
Tammy: Each of our exclusive venues have something special to offer. Opening night at The Eis House will be full of great vibes and smiling faces because the Trimble family simply loves what they do. The mirror room has a cozy atmosphere that’s perfect for a dinner theatre experience and the food is out of this world! The historic Barnes Hiscock Mansion is a treasure. It’s a joy to utilize each room for a piece of the experience. We start in the glorious parlor for live piano music and cocktail hour in the exquisite bar. Then we move up to the pink room for the show! GS Steamers (Riverside Banquet Room) has the city of Oswego and flowing water as it’s backdrop, making for a relaxing mood like no other!
SWM: Do you have a favorite scene from the show?
Tammy: It has to be “Madonna.” To quote the script: “Any American woman under the age of 30 who says she’s never dressed as Madonna is either lying or Amish.”
I’ll never forget the talent show in Catholic school. I was decked out in a hot pink sweatshirt, safety-orange belt, bright yellow star earrings, glaringly green fishnets. I danced to Madonna’s “Lucky Star.” I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention: I was asked to go home and change! Ha! Good times!
Moe: My favorite scene is the bathrobe story. It’s so heartbreaking and yet simply kind.
SWM: What’s been your favorite part of working on this show?
Tammy: My favorite part of working on this show will be experiencing my fellow community members who are new to performing step off the ledge and enjoy the joy that comes from a theatre experience. It’s also always inspiring to work alongside the incomparable Moe Harrington. But I think the absolute best part of any show I produce is standing in the back of the room as the show is happening and watching our beautiful patrons engage in the world we create for them.
Moe: My favorite thing is bringing these women together and also watching Tammy’s process. She is meticulous and truly cares that her audience always gets an “experience.”
SWM: Anything else you’d like to add?
Moe: Reading this script reminded me of this dress my mother wore. It was a classic ’50s circle skirt with buttons up the front and a short collar. Covered in horses, it looked as though they were running around her. I loved that dress. She looked so beautiful. Imagine my surprise when she had one made for me in the same fabric. I don’t know what I loved more — the dress or looking just like my mother.
Tammy: I feel truly blessed to be making art alongside these strong, passionate and inspirational women. Thank you Syracuse Woman for not only taking the journey with us, but sharing the experience with your readers!
Join Moe, Tammy, our editor, Lorna, and the rest of the cast at the Barnes Hiscock Mansion on Tuesday, June 19.
Where: Barnes Hiscock Mansion, 930 James St., Syracuse.
When: Music and cocktail hour, 5 p.m.; dinner and show, 7 p.m.
Cost: Tickets are available online now for $60 per person.
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit dujourcny.com.