By ROGER SMITH
It’s always good to have a descriptive word in mind when informing someone else about what one has seen or heard or experienced.
Well, here are a couple of words for “Dixie’s Tupperware Party”, now playing at PlayhouseSquare’s East 14th Street Theater: Surreal. Right clicking on the word in one’s processing programs reveals several synonyms. The most descriptive parallelism from that list happens to be bizarre. There you have it from this writer’s point of view — surrealistically bizarre.
Having never been to such an affair, one might wonder just what goes on and how such a thing could ever be presented as a play. It winds up being a very funny and occasionally lewd comedic take on a segment of Americana that begins when one arrives and pins on a numbered name tag. It turns out that there are drawings from a bowl (just as there were at real house parties) for Tupperware items that are hawked throughout the evening.
The hostess, Ms. Dixie Longate (aka Mr. Kris Andersson) is on guard, greeting all the attendees and passing out Life Saver mints as snacks. After being seated, guests find a list of Tupperware items/prices on their assigned tables. Yep, even though it is a play, Tupperware is available for purchase after the production (cash and credit cards accepted).
The conversation throughout the interactive production deals with sex, our American caste system, the glass ceiling for women, and how to use the Tupperware that is being sold. Dixie picks out a man in the audience and good naturedly berates him throughout the evening, as well as she does those she has labeled as hookers or lesbians. This show also chronicles the inventions of the plastic and eventually the products by Earl Silas Tupper in 1946, and the Tupperware Party marketing strategy by Brownie Wise. A video screen — making the show somewhat multi-media — is used to point out the history and benefits of being a Tupperware sales lady.
It’s a raucous, bawdy comedy that some of my female friends say recaptures some facets of Tupperware parties they have attended during the last 60 some years that this indestructible stuff has been around.
The play runs through Nov. 4. Tickets may be purchased by visiting www.playhousesquare.org. and by phoning 216-241-6000 or 866-546-1353 Monday through Sunday from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m.