Saturday, September 13, 2008

'Tupperware Party' resealable fun on stage

'Tupperware Party' resealable fun on stage

'Tupperware Party' resealable fun on stage
CHUCK GRAHAM
Tucson Citizen

Sometimes a girl has to do what a girl has to do. Like sell Tupperware, which is Dixie Longate's main passion even when she is onstage presenting "Dixie's Tupperware Party," a satirical comedy written by Kris Andersson. This talented lady can't decide if she is a performer who sells a little Tupperware on the side, or if she is a star Tupperware sales rep who does a little performing on the side.
Not that it matters. Invisible Theatre has booked three weeks of Longate's entertaining sales pitches on stage and seductive Tupperware displays in the theater lobby. There is simply no doubt Dixie and Tupperware go together like ham and eggs, steak and potatoes, tofu and veggies. You know. . .
"When I started out, I didn't know anything about Tupperware. But I always loved parties. I know how to bring the fun," Longate enthuses. "One thing just led to another.
"When I got out of prison, it was my parole officer who gave me this Tupperware candy dish that looked just like glass. Then she suggested I give the parties a try.
"That's when I learned Tupperware has become a whole different thing now. It's not like what your grandmother bought."
Longate goes on about the virtues of 21st century Tupperware's new designs. There are lines of pots, pans and kitchen utensils. There's a specially designed corkscrew for opening wine bottles. The company, it seems, has looked beyond its initial determination back in the 1950s to making everything out of plastic.
"Well, there's certainly nothing wrong with pouring a little wine in a plastic tumbler," Longate says, wanting to make it clear. "You never have cracked or chipped glasses, either. That's worth something.
"And wine in a sippy cup won't spill on the furniture. Believe me, I've tried."
Longate adds that most of her furniture is covered in clear plastic covers, but no matter. She is a woman on a mission.
"Tupperware wants to break out of the old mold," she adds with a straight face.
Back in 2004, Longate's dual career leaped into the public eye when she brought her Tupperware party to New York City as part of the New York International Fringe Festival. That led to an off-Broadway run of the forthrightly titled "Dixie's Tupperware Party" and the rest is history.
Not to mention several more years of hefty sales in those ever-expanding kitchen products. Longate was making so much money selling the stuff, she had to keep it in the act. So she comes onstage dressed like a 1950s housewife, telling both colorful and heartfelt stories, bringing the fun in resealable Tupperware containers - which she releases one bowl at a time.
Invisible Theatre is happy to be a part of the action. Life isn't always a cabaret. Sometimes all the world is a stage and we are but customers. Clearly, Dixie Longate is a big believer in the art of commerce.
(Editor's note: Dixie Longate is the creation of actor Kris Andersson, who likes to stay in character because that way he sells more Tupperware.)