Smile Politely

5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche is a fun and funny romp

Photo of the set with cast, 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche at the Station Theatre. Four white women and one Black woman are leaning over a small round table smelling a quiche. They are dressed as women from the 1950s. L-R - Heather Smith-Holley, Ellen Magee, Tiphaine Kouadou, Zoë Dunn, Erin Roux
Thomas Byler / The Station Theatre

The Station Theatre is performing 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche, by Evan Linder and Andrew Hobgood as part of their celebratory 50th season. The show opened on March 30th and runs on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings through April 9th with an additional Saturday matinee on April 8th. The Station has been providing live theater in an intimate space since 1972, and  such a space is particularly conducive to a play such as this. Two (light) warnings I feel are necessary: there is some character death, and a higher-than-average amount of audience participation (though no one is called onstage). 

At the opening of the play, it’s 1956 and the “widows” of The Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein have gathered for their annual quiche breakfast. Director Kendall Jeonson leads a true ensemble performance of: Ellen Magee (Lulie), Heather Smith Holley (Wren), Zoë Dunn (Vern), Erin Roux (Dale), and Tiphaine Kouadou (Ginny). These five women — officers all— and the members of the audience comprise the sixty-nine-member society. (Wink, wink) The assembled members are eagerly awaiting the announcement of the society’s prize-winning quiche: a yearly award that comes with some clear prestige and obvious pleasure. (Nudge, nudge) The motto of the society is, “no men, no meat, all manners,” and between the motto and the title it’s not hard to guess what the women will reveal over the course of the meeting. Eventually, sublimating their unbridled enthusiasm for “quiche” becomes impossible, and a chorus of “I’m a lesbian!” results.    

5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche at the Station Theatre. A set of a 1950s meeting room with a sign that says "The Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein" hangs on the wall above a sign on an easel that says "1956 Quiche Breakfast." One white woman is standing next to a small round table. Four other women (three white, one Black) sit on a bench against the wall. Ellen Magee (standing), L-R on Bench - Zoë Dunn, Erin Roux, Tiphaine Kouadou, Heather Smith-Holley
Thomas Byler / The Station Theatre

Anyone who has ever been part of a fraternity/sorority or sat on a committee of an over-zealous organization and wondered, “Am I, in fact, joining a cult?” will recognize some of the impassioned involvement of the officers. The jockeying for position, the performed deference to senior members, the intense excitement and hype in anticipation of society activities, the threat of losing position over a perceived slight — all are acted with hilarious sincerity by the quintet of officers. As the play progresses and the prizewinning quiche is revealed, the innuendo of the quick-fire dialogue steadily increases until it is not only unavoidable but clearly intentional (as the authors intended). I can only imagine how much rehearsal was required for the five officers to keep a straight face throughout, and it’s a testament to their hard work that not one of them broke character once. 

The play takes a turn when atomic bomb warning sirens sound and the women are trapped in their meeting place, which includes a conveniently-installed security door that can only be opened once, and that will seal of its own accord if it detects radiation. Facing the imminent destruction of their previously-idyllic world and contemplating a post-apocalyptic landscape where their old social roles don’t have meaning, the five officers are forced to come out from behind their constructed personalities and ritual scripts to confront their true identities. Eventually, they must open the door and face the world outside, still firmly devoted to their cause: the quiche is a powerful breakfast, and one must “respect the egg.” 

Co-writers Andrew Hobgood and Evan Linder have created a short-but-striking play that, while funny, carries both genuine sentiment and substance just beneath the surface. It’s easy to see why the play was named the Best Overall Production at the 2012 NYC International Fringe Festival. 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche is a fun and funny romp, with witty banter and zany plot twists as the five main characters explore themes of identity, the power of friendship, and the risks we take when we reveal who we really are. 

5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche
The Station Theatre
223 N Broadway
Th Apr 6th, 7:30 p.m.
F Apr 7th, 7:30 p.m. SOLD OUT
Sa Apr 8th, 3 p.m. + 7:30 p.m.
Su Apr 9th, 3 p.m.
Tickets available online; $15

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