Now extended through August 13th!!
Razor sharp timing and hilarity
|The New Colony presents|
|Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche|
|Written by Andrew Hobgood and Evan Linder
Directed by Sarah Gitenstein
at Dank Haus, 4740 N. Western (map)
Reviewed by K.D. Hopkins
Hello kids. It’s Dolores here, and boy did I have a great time at the Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein annual quiche breakfast!
No really it’s K.D. – and I laughed until I cried at this sharp and whip-smart comedy from The New Colony. Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche is a full length expansion on an award winning sketch, taking place during the Eisenhower era in 1956, from Collaboraction’s Sketchbook X.
It is the story of a special ladies club that has an annual meeting to honor all things quiche and to pay special homage to the egg. No sausage allowed, and I do mean the slang definition for sausage. There were lots of men in the audience but everyone was given a special lady moniker for the evening. I was Dolores and my friend Kate was Edna. The names were right out of the 1930’s and entering adulthood in the paranoid 50’s. I extend my sympathy to the poor guy named Marjorie who bore the brunt of the ladies’ anger as the expelled Building and Grounds Chair. She brought a tomato and mushroom quiche to last year’s annual quiche-off and, gasp!, someone allowed sausage to invade the sacred quiche.
The play is hosted at the venerable Dank Haus on Western. The cultural center was transformed into the perfect combination of surreal Technicolor and bleak 50’s science fiction anti-communist propaganda film set.
The meeting comes to order under the guidance of four of the board members of the Susan B. Anthony Society. They swirl among the audience, tittering and gorgeous in some awesome costumes. There is Wren Robin played by Megan Johns in a yellow taffeta luncheon dress. She is joined by the very subservient Ginny Cadbury played by Thea Lux, with the perfect amount of twitchy insecurity. Delicate Dale Prist is played by Maari Suorsa in a what was known as a smart ensemble including a Brownie camera on a strap that matches her prim and asexual frock. The very funny and arch Beth Stelling plays Veronica "Vern" Schultz as the single career-gal to the hilt. Her running commentary and breaking the fourth wall never falls flat or gets old. Vern is the one who is handy with tools and has everything under control, including Ginny.
The ladies sing an anthem of their 3-times-a-lady-ness as long as they are joined by hands or linking arms. The President of this fine club of ‘widows’ and ladies is named Lulie Stanwyck played by Mary Hollis Imboden. She is a Midwestern farm gal dream in a peach ensemble, sublimely perfect down to the Mamie Eisenhower cap perched on top of mounded hair. Lulie informs the club that the egg is about as close to Jesus Christ as food can get with the fervor of a 1950’s bastion of society.
Having spent ample time studying the films of the Eisenhower era and late 40’s noir, I loved seeing the mores and traditions of that time turned upside down and twisted.
There was always the inference of ‘the love that dare not speak its name" in the films of that time. Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Crawford, and Jane Wyman all had a strange desexualized edge to their characters. The cast has a sparkling satirical take on the characters, society, and the look of the time.
Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche is written by Andrew Hobgood and Evan Linder with sly and subversive wit. The cast is blade sharp in the delivery as well as the physicality of the play. The reserved and girdled up ladies club visage is burst apart by the dropping of an atomic bomb. How lucky is it that Vern knows her way around a toolbox! She has converted the clubhouse into a bomb shelter with a self-sealing door and government approved double pane windows to protect against radiation. She also made the ‘Boys Life’ blue Madras curtains to further guard against radiation. Rations are saved but they forgot to bring in some of the wild chickens that caused the ax wielding explorer, Lady Marmont, to found the Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein.
After the bomb drops, the action revs up into a breathless and wonderfully faux melodramatic comedy. The one liners fly and the lustful looks exchange. The male members of the audience are earnestly compelled to announce that they are lesbians. There is hope in Middle America that this race of women will start over and repopulate with the kitchen-baster baby that Lulie carries. However, there are no eggs, so the prize winning quiche is the last one until four years from now when the radiation will be safe.
The ladies share the last quiche in what should be a classic theater moment. Let’s just say that Ginny Cadbury really loves her some quiche. Paternity secrets are revealed and childhood trauma is on dramatic display in a dialogue out of Erskine Caldwell and Ernie Kovacs. Who’s the baby daddy? Lulie’s cousin Pope Jones? (Incest!?) Is Dale’s father Pope Jones not Lulie’s cousin? Then Dale cannot be the breeder to save the human race. Or is it the Black guy named Pope Jones? The only thing that matters is that Lulie and Pope’s bastard be raised on rationed quiche by the ladies. The problem is that all of the other contest entry quiches are on the other side of the door in the dangerous radiation. Will Dale save the quiche and be the heroine or will she have a Peeps-in-the-microwave moment? I’m not telling, because you should take a group of friends to see Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche.
Quiche is brilliantly funny and a delight to pick up on the film and cultural references. The play is directed by Sarah Gitenstein, who gives the actors the room to develop their characters. It is smoothly paced and has some great holy sh#! moments. Just like quiche, this show is meant to be shared with friends!
Exercise your retro-recognition and your laugh muscles by going to this play! Happy Summer! Love,
Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00pm through
July 30th August 13th at the Dank Haus, 4740 N. Western. Tickets are available by calling 773-413-0862 or at www.thenewcolony.org.
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