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New Women's Theater Company Debuts with Ephron Show

The Eve Theatre Company, a new women's theater company, opens its first production this week. Their first show is “Love, Loss and What I Wore,” the Drama Desk Award-winning anthology of monologues that the Los Angeles Times calls “a cross between ‘The Vagina Monologues’ and ‘What Not to Wear’.”Acclaimed screenwriters Nora and Delia Ephron (“When Harry Met Sally,” “You've Got Mail”) adapted Ilene Beckerman's novel for five actresses who play a variety of characters relating significant memories and stages in life to the items in their closets, from Brownie uniforms and Prom dresses to miniskirts and high heels. The play includes an ode to the color black and an indictment of the purse, which founding company member Susan McNeese Lynch says "every woman has a love-hate relationship with."“Love, Loss and What I Wore” opens Thursday and runs through November 18 in the Henry Clay Theatre. McNeese Lynch plays Gingy, a character who serves as a narrator of sorts for the play. The show follows Gingy throughout the course of her life, three marriages, motherhood and the death of a child. “The way this play is written and the way it is performed—very simply with five actresses that portray a number of different roles—allows people who watch the show to project their own personal experience onto what they're hearing,” says McNeese Lynch. “I think everyone can simply connect to the notion of their clothing and clothes that they wore, clothes that their friends wore, clothes that their parents wore, some piece of clothing that’s been handed down through the family,” she adds. The debut of Eve Theatre Company, whose mission is to explore the human experience from a female perspective, reflects a growing national awareness of a gender imbalance in theatrical productions. The League of Professional Theatre Women co-sponsor the 50/50 in 2020 project, an effort to achieve gender parity for theater professionals over the next eight years. According to their website, women playwrights, directors, actors and designers fill less than 20 percent of professional production opportunities nationwide.That can create a ripple effect of sorts that trickles down—fewer women playwrights or shows with predominately female casts making high-profile professional debuts results in a smaller script pool for smaller, local companies like Eve to choose from, for example.McNeese Lynch says Eve has been about three years in the making. They knew they needed the right first production to set the tone for their first season, which they are still building.“The fact that we were able to do ‘Love, Loss and What I Wore’ I can say escalated us—or at least galvanized us—to come out and say we really are a theater group and we really are producing,” she says.