CHARLESTON, W.Va. - For her first entry back into community theater after a 15-year break, Jann Hoke figured she picked the perfect show.
It was by a writer she loves - the late Nora Ephron, who co-wrote the play with her sister, Delia. The topic - women and how they remember periods of their lives by what they wore - was one with which she could identify.
Hoke knew director Carole Carter well.
And, perhaps best of all, the play, "Love, Loss and What I Wore," is staged in such a way that all of the actors hold their scripts on their laps.
"That was one really nice thing with easing back into this," Hoke said. "This is probably the perfect play to come back on."
The play is based on a memoir by Ilene "Gingy" Beckerman, who was born in 1935 and grew up in New York City. In it, Beckerman recalls outfits, many sewn by her mother, that carried her through moments in life - parties, weddings and other events.
The Ephron sisters took that idea and organized it into a series of monologues with cast members who rotate roles.
"My character stays the same," Hoke explained. "The other seven change."
Her fellow cast members - Jennifer Anderson, Sheila Jarrett, April Ritter, Jessica Smith, Amber Surface, Terry Terpening and Daisy Thomas - tell stories that are funny and heartbreaking.
"But because it's an Ephron play, even with the heartbreaking stories there's a wryness that makes you know the woman is coping the best she can, and a lot of times that is with humor," Hoke said.