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Tuesday February 23, 2016

Join the Patriot Players of Patrick Henry Community College as they explore the complexities of women and celebrate womanhood with their latest show, “Love, Loss and What I Wore,” which runs from March 3-6.

“This is our first ‘dramedy’ – a comedy having dramatic moments,” said Devin Pendleton, director of programs and artistic director for the Patriot Players. “This play is a funny and engaging collage of snapshots punctuated by clothing. It’s hard-hitting, but it’s also a feel-good play that celebrates the lives of women in different ages, stages and backgrounds.”

This play also is special, Pendleton said, because March is National Women’s History Month, a month that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society. It runs the weekend before International Women’s Day on March 8, celebrated in the U.S., the United Kingdom and Australia.

“Our experiences often are shaped by how others see us, treat us, and how we ultimately treat ourselves,” Pendleton said. “In a culture that places ridiculous expectations on the female form, ‘Love, Loss and What I Wore’ provides not only a voice from the female perspective, but the laughter and pain that goes along with those expectations.”  

Pendleton is directing the show, which includes cast members Cathy Burton, Cindy Hollingsworth, Tracey Scott-Harris, Robin Ferguson and Jessica Robinson.

Much of what’s going on in the show is something that cast members have experienced in their lives, according to Burton.

“Clothes do not define the woman, but sometimes, it does tell her story,” she said. “They tell something about her – her femininity, what her goals are and what she likes. Sometimes, I like to wear a pair of army fatigues and a green t-shirt that makes me feel rugged and tough. Sometimes, I like to wear my fluffy nightgown because it makes me feel girly and special.”

Hollingsworth said the show is about “various types of women and experiences they go through. We look at people and think we know them, but there’s one part in the show where one of my characters says, ‘If you lived where we lived, you would know us. But you wouldn’t know our story.’ We don’t know what goes on in people’s lives behind closed doors … This (show) touches on how people cover things up. You would be amazed at what some people are masking that others don’t see.”

This show is about sharing stories, and for women to be confident and unafraid to tell their stories, said Scott-Harris.

“You never know who you’re talking to and what they may have gone through,” Scott-Harris said. “I always try to be an open door for women. Just be open to share and step out of your comfort zone. That’s what art is to me. Being able to step out of your comfort zone and not worry what someone has to say…”

“Love, Loss and What I Wore” speaks to every woman out there, according to Ferguson. She said everyone can relate to clothing being connected to important events in your life.

“Some of the show’s topics are very lighthearted and funny about what we’ve seen in our lives, but others are very serious and deep,” Ferguson said. “They’ll make you reach down and think about things you’ve gone through and maybe what someone else may have gone through… I think it’s going to make anyone who’s becoming a new mother or relatively new mothers look at things a little differently.”

This play also is a learning experience for some cast members, like Robinson, who said, “I’m learning how much women have in common. I think women are really strong, and have the ability to be strong, even in really difficult situations… We have a compassion and empathy for others that really makes us look past some of the negative aspects in people closest to us and always see the best. There are so many women in our community that can be positively affected by this show. We’re telling the stories all women can identify with.”  

“Love, Loss and What I Wore” is a play of ensemble pieces written about women, clothes, and memory, covering all the important subjects: mothers, prom dresses, buying bras, hating purses, and why many women only wear black. It’s based on the bestselling book written by Ilene Beckerman. While clothes may not define the woman, they often tell her story.

“This show covers everything from blow-up bras and mono-boobs, to periods, purses and homemade Girl Scout uniforms, to wild shades of lipstick, wedding dresses, heels, boots and Birkenstocks,” Pendleton said.

The show runs from March 3-6 at 7 p.m. at Piedmont Arts, located at 215 Starling Ave. in Martinsville. Tickets are $12 and available at the PHCC Switchboard and at the Martinsville Henry County Visitor’s Center at New College Institute, 191 Fayette St., Martinsville.

To find out more information, visit www.phccpatriotplayers.com or call (276) 638-8777 ext. 0460.

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