Quiche hardly seems capable of arousing passion, but in the play Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche, it verges on the riotously sensual.
Making its return to the Charleston stage under the direction of Kyle Barnette, What If? Productions’ Five Lesbians is side-splittingly funny. A power cast of five women brings the play to life with such energy and dynamism that it is easy to forget that our induction into the ladies' Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein never actually happened.
The play, which premiered in the spring of 2012, has been slightly adapted for the holidays. Set in middle America circa 1950 during the height of the Cold War, the widows of an unnamed town have gathered to celebrate this Christmas season with their Annual Quiche Breakfast. Overseen by the ranking officers (played by Becca Anderson, Beth Curley, Jennifer Hasty, Andrea K. McGinn, and Victoria Vaughn), the meeting is called to order, with the audience roped in as the newest members of this society.
What begins as campy and slightly obvious innuendo about quiches and the female anatomy really hits its stride about 10 minutes into the one act play. As the five ladies crowd around this year’s winning quiche, elbowing one another for a place at the table, forks at the ready, the last bits of decorum are all but forgotten. Forks tossed, five sets of hand dig into the perfect quiche and bits of crust and egg go flying. The women retreat to private corners of the community center basement in order to more thoroughly enjoy their own pieces of the pie, but one of their members has taken a dive, face first into the last bits of the perfect quiche.
“No men, no meat, all manners,” is the motto of the prim and proper ladies of the Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein, but as nuclear crisis unfolds around them, the real stories start coming out. Planning to spend the next four years trapped in the basement of their local community center, our characters begin planning the future repopulation of the planet. There seems to be only one snag in the plan: they are all lesbians, and now, they are out of quiche.
The play is an absurdist comedy built on double entendres and jokes about pant suits, but it manages to move beyond the obvious into the realm of cruder humor with relative ease.
Becca Anderson leads the cast in a reprisal of her role as Lulie, the Society president, with a sugary southern accent and plastic smile. And Dale, played by Andrea McGinn, is downright hysterical. Each woman of the ensemble cast brings her own sense of comedic timing and physical humor to the role she plays, and together they have the audience laughing out loud, yelling, “I AM A LESBIAN!”
The perfect break from a season stuffed with caroling and cookies, Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche is a savory treat not to be missed. And make sure you have a quiche in the fridge for later — you will leave the theater hungry.