Friday, September 19, 2008

This ain't your mama's Tupperware party, honey; it's Dixie's all the way | www.azstarnet.com ®

This ain't your mama's Tupperware party, honey; it's Dixie's all the way www.azstarnet.com ®

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This ain't your mama's Tupperware party, honey; it's Dixie's all the way
By Kathleen Allen
Arizona Daily Star
Tucson, Arizona Published: 09.19.2008

The world has gone all topsy-turvy.
Once upon a time, a play was a play, and a Tupperware party was a Tupperware party.
Not so at Invisible Theatre, which opened its season Wednesday with "Dixie's Tupperware Party."
At least there's truth in advertising there — you may be expecting a play, but this is most definitely a Tupperware party.

Only you pay to get in. No food is served. No alcohol, either. And you are sitting in a dry-cleaning shop turned theater, not a friend's living room.
OK, there are a few other differences. Not many Tupperware salespeople refer to the product as "crap." Or have an X-rated sense of humor. And most parties aren't hosted by someone as entertaining and outrageous as Dixie Longate.

But make no mistake. This is a Tupperware party. The message is buy, buy, buy.
Dixie, actually creator Kris Andersson in drag, has set up shop on the stage, with Tupperware in all sizes and colors on display. The backdrop is pink with big polka dots. At least they look like big polka dots. In any case, it's definitely pink and low-tech. At one point it seemed as though we were watching a cable access television show. Which, oddly, is part of the evening's charm.
As you enter the theater, you're given a name tag, a Tupperware catalog, order sheet and pen.
Dixie, in flaming red hair, lipstick to match, and a short gingham dress that exposes long, luscious legs, jumps right into hawking the goods.

She demonstrates each piece, plays with it, opens and closes the containers, drinks out of a no-spill Tupperware cup (Jack Daniels and Coke, or so it appears). And always, always, repeats the items' numbers, suggesting that we circle them in the catalog. "That doesn't mean you have to buy 'em," she explains. It just means that if you want to buy 'em, you've got the item already circled.
Then, after the show, you can just trot on out to the lobby, where Dixie has set up shop so she can take orders, and you can easily begin to load up on all the Tupperware you could possibly want. Or, even, the Tupperware you don't want.

Dixie speaks with an impressive Southern drawl, and her words spill out so quickly they are hard to catch. But you somehow sense that what she's saying is funny. And bawdy. And witty. And irreverent. And her timing is pristine. So you laugh. And if you are like a number of people at the opening night audience, you buy Dixie's "crap."
There's lots of audience participation at Dixie's parties, so don't sit up front if you want to avoid her attention. But if you like struttin' your stuff, Dixie will sense that, no doubt, and pull you up on stage with her.

You'll be the object of her jokes (as she often is herself), but there's never a cruel edge.
Dixie's got a big heart, and she implores everyone to believe that each of us counts. One never doubts her sincerity.

Or why she's there: for a good time, sure. But most of all, to sell you Tupperware.
● Contact reporter Kathleen Allen at kallen@azstarnet.com or 573-4128.