Dixie's Tupperware Party
nytheatre.com review by Eric Pliner
August 15, 2004
About ten minutes into Dixie’s Tupperware Party, it occurred to me that the performance I was seeing might not just be mere entertainment. Aside from the fact that it takes place in a theatre, Dixie Longate’s solo performance is as much sales pitch as it is FringeNYC show. Before the tart-tongued hostess wobbles into the theatre (running late after a supposed exploit at a nearby truck stop), audience members are greeted by a table decked out in the latest Tupperware products and official tablecloth. Indeed, when Ms. Longate (uncredited actor Kris Andersson, performing in drag, under the direction of Thomas Caruso) does enter, she does so baring a chest-full of hanging award badges (her “swingers,” as she calls them) attesting to her success as a Tupperware sales person. And it’s no wonder—Dixie’s Tupperware Party is a hoot, riling up audience members into fits of laughter while simultaneously seducing them into purchasing her “plastic crap.”
During its silliest moments, Dixie’s Tupperware Party is a been-there-done-that drag show, complete with raffle prizes, performed by a convincing enough guy-in-heels whose Southern accent and gingham dress conjure up a familiar, sleazy character. Stories about her cleverly-named children (Winona, Dewayne, and Absorbine, Jr.) run the admittedly narrow gamut from ridiculous to amusing, and Dixie regales her audience of “hookers” and “bitches” with tales from the trailer.
During her show’s funniest moments, though, Ms. Longate manages to identify perverse uses for even the most everyday household items, bewildering the audience with her (sick) creativity and deriving laughs from knocking down nay-sayers with sharp barbs. And during the show’s most transcendent bits—and yes, I mean that in all seriousness—the audience is treated to stories about the most fascinating (and postmodern) aspect of Dixie Longate’s existence: a campy, oversexed drag queen is one of the nation’s top salespeople of a product that screams wholesome homemaker. Dixie’s response to a fellow Tupperware-salesperson who wants to show her the way to God provides the show’s biggest laugh, and it’s one among many.
It does seem that Dixie’s Tupperware Party is perhaps better suited to the venue where Tupperware is more typically sold —the living room—than a theatre, allowing this quick improviser more opportunities to interact with the audience. But other than that, it’s easy to see why Dixie is such a success as a salesperson, and as a performer—she works hard for the money, and by the end of her show, even the most bewildered audience members are leafing through the Tupperware catalog, eager to take home a bit of the “plastic crap" along with memories of this truly entertaining performance.