By Show and Tell
By Bree Davies
By Bree Davies
By Cory Casciato
By Emilie Johnson
By Robin Edwards
By Bree Davis
By Josiah M. Hesse
Dixie's Tupperware Party. Dixie is a booze- and sex-addicted, trash-talking, child-neglecting ex-con from Alabama who holds Tupperware parties in her trailer, and she's invited you to this one.
Dixie's Tupperware Partyat the Galleria really
isa Tupperware party — you get a name tag and raffle number when you come in, and there are pens and catalogues on all the tables. Dixie, your hostess, greets you in high white heels and a crotch-skimming skirt, earrings swinging, red hair piled high. Collapsible bowls, punch and party setups, plastic jugs and ribbed mugs (uh-huh) gleam in shades of lime, blue, orange and purple on a table behind her; by the time she's through, you won't be able to look at a plastic storage container without giggling. Just the words "collapsible bowl" will set you off. Dixie is also Kris Andersson, an actor who realized he could make an actual living selling Tupperware and began hosting parties. As he worked, the character of Dixie developed. Andersson brought his show to New York's Fringe Festival in 2004, and it caught fire from there. This production is seriously dirty, and it's also one terrific evening. Dixie is a great character: She doesn't give an inch, but she's as appealing as she is wicked. And Andersson not only loves Dixie, but he loves Tupperware, too — and he's not being snarky about it. So no matter how much Dixie screws up her spiel or how many lewd jokes she makes about the uses to which you can put "the best plastic crap on the planet," there's a reverential quality to the way she fondles the goods that makes you actually want to buy them. Presented by Denver Center Attractions through January 2, Garner Galleria Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 303-893-4100, www.denvercenter.org.
Don Juan in Hell. Four chairs, filled by four characters — Don Juan, Dona Ana, her father the Commander, and the Devil himself — all engaged in a long, long argument. It's an argument filled with wit, wisdom, humor, flashes of insight and pure Shavian contrarianism. As the action begins, Dona Ana has just arrived in hell, and she's quite peeved to realize it, given the conspicuous religiosity with which she lived her long life. Don Juan serves as her guide, and assures her that an eternity spent in hell is far more pleasurable than anything going on in heaven. His point is reinforced by the Devil, a jovial soul, and by the Commander, who is so bored with heaven that he's come to request a change of residence. The point of this essentially plotless play is a protracted discussion about just about everything on earth, including the ways in which humans spend their limited time. The Devil has a long and eloquent monologue about the violent uses to which man puts his intellect, resources and energy. Shaw uses Don Juan's scornful rebuttal to take digs at all his favorite whipping boys: politicians, businessmen, the English in general, and artists. Art is seductive, Don Juan admits, but it ultimately serves only to enslave men to women, whose job it is to birth the race and rule in the home. But despite his intellect and blistering wit, Don Juan's essential belief system is romantically woolly-headed. While the Devil advocates hedonism because he believes there's no such thing as human progress, Don Juan — who represents Shaw himself — argues for a kind of mystical evolution in which the human mind continues to develop in breadth and wisdom and ultimately transforms the human race. It's fascinating to watch these ideas zipping around the stage like little white Ping-Pong balls. And though you do occasionally feel a bit like a kid subjected to an overlong scolding, the overall effect is exhilarating. Presented by Germinal Stage Denver through December 16, 2450 West 44th Avenue, 303-455-7108, www.germinalstage.com.
Drag Machine. The goal of Off-Center @ The Jones is to work with local talent, explore exciting new forms and create lively and informal theater, and Drag Machine is as much a party and celebration as it is a production. Shirley Delta Blow, aka actor Stuart Sanks, takes you on a trip through the decades of the twentieth century by twiddling with various fluffy objects and making vroom-vroom sounds while "If I Could Turn Back Time" plays. She is assisted by two adorable flight attendants: pretty little Ruby Bouche and lithe, smooth-skinned Go Go. Audience participation here isn't one of those get-picked-on-and-embarrassed-by-a-performer things; for those enticed onto the stage, it's more like making a kindly new friend who'll guide you through games like "Are You Smarter Than a Drag Queen?" and "Who Dat in Drag?" while more new friends in the audience help by shouting out answers when you find yourself stumped. Decade by decade, famous faces flash past on two screens — everyone from Grace Jones to Martin Luther King Jr. to Al Capone — accompanied by a few facts about each era. But amid the laughter and camp, there are some genuine tributes as Delta Blow applauds the heroes of the gay-rights movement and stresses the participation of drag queens within it. After a moving homage to the many young gay people who have taken their own lives, the show ends with some hopeful, rainbow-colored imagery for the future. And, really, how can it not be a good party when you learn your own drag-queen name, get to eat cotton candy, and end up adding the shimmer of your glow stick to all the others waving gently in the dark? Presented by Off-Center @ The Jones December 7-8, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 303-893-4100, www.denveroffcenter.org. Reviewed November 8.