Salt Lake City – Silver Summit Theatre Company, in conjunction with A-Muses, fabulously presents the regional premiere of 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche, a hysterical political and social commentary of the past and present written by Andrew Hobgood and Evan Linder.
5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche observes a particular exciting day for the lives of five women in 1956. It is the Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein quiche breakfast. The annual event brings women of the society together to meet, mingle, and await for the anticipated award winning quiche. Soon after the meeting begins, communists drop an Atomic bomb on the small town in Middle America, and the women learn they must remain in the specially prepared community center for four years. When the women realize they now only have one quiche left, with no prospects of making more, hilarity ensues and the truth comes out. The smart and silly comedy, chalk full of humor and sexual innuendo, examines issues of gender equality and homosexuality with a keen relevance to our society today.
Upon entering the theater, each audience member is welcomed and given a name tag, henceforth being considered a female participating in the meeting of the Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein. Directed by Dave Hanson with Amy Allred, the most impressive aspect of the show was the atmosphere that was created by the cast and crew. With very little set, sound, and lighting design elements, the realistic environment and hospitable actors who directly talk to and address the audience, ensure that the audience member are actually ‘guests’ rather, sitting in on and even participating in the meeting. Also helpful in establishing this was the pre-show, where the actors casually conversed with the audience, encouraging the audience to take on their own new characters they have been given. The spirit of comradery that was felt was indeed apparent by the middle of the show, and I felt the need to fit in with this group of lesbians.
All of the actors were superb in their respective and equal roles. Julie Silvestro as Lulie Stanwyck, however, was the standout of the group. Her talent certainly showed through in her facial expressions and body language, which conveyed her character’s emotions and straight-forward, leadership personality perfectly. Joulianna Boulter Blake as Vern Shultz; Michelle Hall as Wren Robin; Karli Rose Lowry as Dale Prist; and Mandi Titcomb as Ginny Cadbury were all excellent as well, each having moments where they displayed immense talent as comedic and honest actors. Also impressive was the solid chemistry between the five actors. This chemistry was strong enough to in turn build chemistry with the audience, making this ‘meeting’ quite a believable experience. Rarely have I seen such an outstanding and well-cast ensemble.
Along with the outstanding acting, directors Hanson and Allred managed to keep the energy up and the pacing of the show moving throughout. Every moment seems to be engaging, laced with meaning, and the delightful silliness is careful not to be overdone. Amongst the funny absurdity of the show, it is notable that the directors were still able to create such a compelling piece that ended up surprisingly touching at times. The quiet moment when the five women stand wondering “what do we do now?” is a beautiful one that balances all the joviality nicely.
As I truly have nothing negative to say about 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche, it is a definite success. I cannot remember the last time I have laughed so freely during a stage production. There is an abundance of moments of overt, as well as subtle and clever humor making it absolutely laugh out loud funny and enjoyable. More importantly, the play is thought provoking and directly forces the viewer, or rather the participant, to engage in the important issues that are presented and discussed. It may seem easy to think of the 1950’s in America as a different time, however a lot of the concerns that may seem outdated and unprecedented today to many are still very present. Equality is always something to be considered, and this production accomplishes this in relatable and entertaining ways, creating an enriching and well spent 80 minutes.
5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche ran April 10-26 at The Sugar Space in Salt Lake City. For more information, visit www.silversummittheatre.org or www.a-muses.com.