Arts & EntertainmentFeaturesStage

Mix Together 5 Lesbians . . .


Add a quiche, and season with humor
by Donalevan Maines
Photo by Ruth S. McCleskey

This one’s for the ladies: remember the first time you ate, uh, quiche? If so, you understand the anticipation, the exhilaration, and indescribable joy that the “widows” in the play 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche feel as they await the unveiling of a prizewinning quiche at a 1950s breakfast meeting of, yes, The Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein.

Or are these women not widows, but (gasp) lesbians?

I mean, have you noticed that president Lulie Stanwyck pronounces apricot “APE-ricot”?!

When Veronica “Vern” Schultz sketches nudes, she leaves the socks on!

Dale Prist thinks mascara is a country in Africa, and chairwoman Wren Robin keeps jars of sawdust around her house like potpourri!

Clearly, there is something curious about the title of the show, which Boiling Point Players presents April 30–May 9 at Spring Street Studios.

But point of order: this meeting is a bit tardy.

Boiling Point co-founder Ruth S. McCleskey, the show’s director, admits, “We didn’t choose it for our first season last year because [it’s a 1950s] period piece and required some set pieces we were not quite prepared to address. But going into our second season, 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche was a front-runner and then, after a hilarious table read, it was the clear winner.

“It’s the perfect piece for us to do now, as we are still establishing our identity,” McCleskey adds. “We think this production will help us grow artistically, work on new technical things, and is right in line with our mission statement: ‘To bring authenticity, fun, and females to the stage.’”

5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche won “Best Overall Production” at the 2012 New York City International Fringe Festival.

None of the group’s co-founders—neither McCleskey nor Autumn Clack nor Melanie Martin—is a lesbian, but the jury is still out on the other three actresses being cast in the show.

Clack and Martin will portray two of the five lesbians, but which ones they’ll play will be up to the director, explains Martin. Similarly, actress Thea Lux has played both the Susan B. Anthony Society’s secretary, Ginny, and Vern, the buildings and grounds chairwoman who pledges to ensure that in case of a Soviet invasion, the group’s meeting room is “the safest place in America.” (It’s 1956 and our “widows” are in the throes of the Cold War. In fact, nuclear war is just one of the catastrophes that may occur before the evening is out.)

Upon entering the theater, everyone in the audience receives a nametag with a popular pre-1950s woman’s name (no Takeisha or Brittany, for example), per “playwrights’ notes” by authors Andrew Hopgood and Evan Linder.

In fact, their script even requires that “each performance will a feature a male audience member who is preselected (without their knowing it) to play [one of the characters]. He should receive [that character’s] nametag and be seated in the audience where he is most visible to the audience. No one loves [this character].”

I nominate Bryan Maynard, a Spring Branch playwright who’s had two (count ’em: two!) pieces performed by Boiling Point Players in competitions that selected skits for the trio’s cabaret shows this year at Rudyard’s British Pub in Montrose.

Maynard summarized his clever short play Next!, which Boiling Point performed in January, as follows: “All the world’s a stage, and one woman has decided that it’s time to recast her part.” He imagined the woman, Daphne, auditioning new versions of herself after a heartbreak that leaves her adrift.

For the group’s Fight Night evening in February, Maynard wrote She Said, She Said about a lesbian couple. Martin, who played the dominant figure, Sadie, said, “It was a group-therapy session whose whole point was to have a fight with your significant other that was not really a fight, but then it became really a fight.” Portraying a lesbian, said Martin, “was like being in love with someone. It was feeling like you needed to fight with someone and they wouldn’t fight. Aside from being a great script, it was a story about real people—a real couple.”

The written caution in the script for 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche seemed to speak directly to the Boiling Point Players: “As a satire on the melodramatic fears during Cold War America and Today, there will be a temptation to play 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche as a campy comment on society, complete with knowing winks to the audience. Avoid this trap at all costs! The script, when delivered simply and with honest emotion, will take care of the satire on its own.”

Moreover, the authors say, “While it is easy for the outside world to look at fundamentalists and see their beliefs and traditions as absurd and outrageous, fundamentalists themselves see only the absolute truth and majesty of their mission.”

The playwrights assert, “These five women do not in any way find the events of the play funny.”

In contrast, the women of Boiling Point Players promise audiences a night of hilarity, and they’re especially eager to make fans of lesbian theatergoers, whose favor they crave.

What: 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche, presented by Boiling Point Players
When: April 30–May 9
Where: Studio 101, Spring Street Studios, 1824 Spring Street

Donalevan Maines wrote about Brian Golub—who plays the ringleader to the band of brothers in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat—in the March issue of OutSmart magazine.


Don Maines

Donalevan Maines is a regular contributor to OutSmart Magazine.
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