So I wasn't sure what to expect. I was a little thrown when the police officer on duty sent me back up the courtyard stairs to the Waterbury Arts Magnet School's Apron Stage entrance. The usher opening the door said "Welcome to Dixie," so I knew that I was in the right place. The efficient box office ladies converted my complimentary ticket to a seat in the intimate theatre and told us that Dixie had requested that everyone in the audience wear a name tag. A CPTV photographer was asking permission to take photos of the audience arriving to opening night of Dixie's Tupperware Party.
Miss Dixie was already working the crowd in full hair and makeup when I entered, passing out wrapped candy in a crystal bowl. The blue dress she sported fit like a glove. She chomped on gum and spoke to the party attendees in a thick Southern accent. Country music played and the stage was already set with the table covered in the iconic tablecloth and piled with what this Tupperware lady calls plastic "crap." The provided programs contained a real Tupperware catalogue and order form. Four lucky ladies were seated on couches on the stage and were included in the fun.
Dixie Longate is embodied by Kris Andersson, who also wrote the show. S/he credits Patrick Richwood as the director who has been with associated with the show since the beginning of her "quest to save the world, one collapsable bowl at a time." The astonishing amount of improvisation involved in the performance I saw makes me wonder just how much directing Mr. Richwood got to do. There is also a credited hair designer; his contributions were obvious and impressive.
This Tupperware Lady had the audience in stitches, except when she wanted to be serious for a few brief moments. It was during those moments when it became clear what a wonderful actor this performer is.
The show is not easy to describe. Perhaps it is more of an experience. It was originally presented by the New York International Fringe Festival. Off Broadway "Dixie" garnered a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Solo Performance and I could certainly see why. If you pay attention to this fast talking character, the running gags are hysterical. Audience members are asked (well, strongly encouraged) to participate. Expect pop culture references, lots of one-liners, a bit of naughtiness, and maybe a Waterbury riff. I suspect that no two show are the same. Some of the best bits involved the meat marinating box, the unique can opener, and the "forget me nots."
I honestly think this show was a far better fit to the Apron Stage than the massive mainstage of the Palace. Probably my favorite part of this talented actor's performance was his facial expressions when he wasn't saying a word; they were priceless and might be missed if one was seated further from the stage.
I thoroughly enjoyed this Tupperware party. It was nothing like any other party I have ever attended, and I mean that as a good thing.
Check the preview for upcoming performance info.
UPDATE on Jan. 16 6:30 am All performances of the Palace Theater's Dixie's Tupperware Party will be held at the WAMS Apron Stage. The entrance is located in the courtyard in front of the Waterbury Arts Magnet School. If you park in the Scoville Street garage, follow the signs to the school. If you are facing the main entrance under the Palace Theater's marquee, the staircase to the courtyard is to your left.
The Palace has already added a Saturday matinee at 1:00 pm and may possibly add a Sunday matinee as well. Stay tuned! Click here to order tickets.