Thursday, November 23, 2017

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11/1/2017

Not your grandma’s Tupperware party

Dixie Longate returns to Des Moines with “Dixie’s Tupperware Party” Nov. 28 – Jan. 7. Photo credit: Des Moines Performing Arts.

Few trademark names have the brand identity as Tupperware. This chameleonic icon can be found in cupboards, refrigerators and workshops across America. Burp it, pop it, rim it, drop it — the seemingly indestructible material pressed into a veritable cornucopia of shapes and purposes continues to enjoy a multi-generational run of success, unparalleled in America’s kitchen culture. But never has Tupperware been more creatively presented or used as when it’s in the hands of the “No. 1 Seller of Tupperware in the World.” And, this salacious solo circus is coming to Des Moines for an extended holiday season run at the Temple for Performing Arts.

Dixie Longate not only can sell the hell out of Tupperware wherever she sets up shop (yes, this show includes an honest-to-God opportunity to purchase these products), she does so with a level of irrepressible enthusiasm that beguiles audiences into getting another piece or two of this product from the Princess of Plastics.

Longate’s past is a Southern soap opera success story. As she shares her often-sordid, always rib-tickling history during her show, the underlying heart and soul of this performing artist extraordinaire comes to vibrant life. After all, Longate wowed Off-Broadway with this show, garnering a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Solo Performance. When reminded of that achievement, Dixie responded with one of her catch phrases, “I know, shut up, right?”

Dixie Longate is the driving force behind a one-person performance piece that is audience participation, stand-up comedic brilliant and consumer-hawking honed to razor sharp levels. She would make a State Fair product barker seem like a bumbling piker.

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“I have not had an easy life,” Dixie delivers in her thick Alabaman drawl. “I moved my trailer with my kids to Los Angeles as part of the conditions of my parole. I started selling the fantastic plastic crap in 2001, and I have never had so much fun drinking for free in my life. Within a year, I was one of the top sellers in the nation because, well, me and some plastic bowls, and a bunch of drunk women somehow equals lots of sales.” Toss in some malapropisms and many thinly veiled innuendos, and the entire theater quickly fills with wave after wave of laughter.

“I have three kids — Wynona, Dwayne and Absorbine, Jr.,” Dixie says. “And three ex-husbands. All of ‘em have somehow died, but I ain’t crying about it.”

While the framework for each show is the same, with the audience participation and Dixie’s quick-witted penchant for improvisation, fans often return several times when this red-haired raconteur comes to town. Each show spins off along its own path, with the audience shaping where Dixie will take them.

After the Temple’s opening show, “Triple Espresso,” “Dixie’s Tupperware Party” is the most popular show to enjoy multiple bookings. Garnering a cult-following status, new fans are sure to flock to the irresistible allure of Dixie. One evening with this vivacious vixen, and you, too, will understand the magical mixture of plastic, participation and performance.

Overheard in the Lobby

“A Little House Christmas” takes the stage during November in the Kate Goldman Children’s Theater. Ballet Des Moines graces the Hoyt Sherman Place Theatre stage in early December with the seasonal gem, “The Nutcracker.” ♦

John Busbee is a creative project developer, critic, playwright, author, producer and media professional. He has produced his weekly show, The Culture Buzz, on KFMG since 2007.

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