After seven years of sold out audiences, incredible tupperware sales that put her in the top sellers of plastic bowls in the US year after year, I wondered why mess with a winning formula. When you have something so successful, why write a new show, a play no less. Dixie has taken quite a gamble returning to the stage with something so very different than what her audience is used to but for the trailer park Tupperware Diva the gamble has paid off and in a big way!
I sat in a sold out audience in Bass Hall's McDavid Studio where Dixie has sold her Tupperware for the past few years. There is a bar just steps from the hall and the 80% female audience is taking full advantage of all it has to offer.
The premise of the play is a simple one and it is classic Dixie. We are trapped in a Honky Tonk that Dixie is taking care of while her best friend, the owner of the bar is away. We are caught in a storm that is possibly going to bring a hurricane our way, so we cannot leave, unless of course it is to go to the bar for additional libations.
The first half of the play which is performed without intermission becomes a bit of a one note experience about thirty minutes in. But just as I found myself looking at my watch, Dixie broke up the monotony by inviting audience members up for a 60 second honky Tonk dance. It was just the shot in the arm the play needed, and created an opportunity to stretch and of course dance. Not a soul in the sold out audience remained in their chair as Dixie instructed us to join in the fun.
While the first half of the play was disjointed, much like a night with Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, he is hysterical, but he has one note, he insults. This is what Dixie was becoming. But with impeccable timing she reenergized the audience right on queue with her dance break and used the then break to segway into her main focus for the evening Stupid people. No one quite has the take on stupid people offered by Dixie.
I caught up with Dixie and asked her why now, why mess with such a success? I also talk to her about why we are encouraged to be creative and standout as a young child and at some point that is taken away. We also talked about the wisdoms her mother imparted on her over the years, and finally we discuss Dixie's consistent message of spreading your wings, taking chances and most important, loving yourself and taking chances.
Dixie's message to be yourself is a great one and one that need's to be heard, I found her frustrated that the gift so encourage when we are children is at some point taken away, when we are left with the message to blend in and don't make waves. Dixie shows us that this amazing gift at some point is replaced with a conservatism that is never reversed and is one that in many cases stifles the child and thus the adult they become.
“It's not just that it is ok as a child (individuality), “Dixie explains,” it's that we get praised for it. As adults we have to continue on, reclaim it, wear our own crown. When you do this you make people smile. To me it's about being true to yourself, be what you want to be. What is the worst that can happen, somebody say's something? Screw them!”
Dixie peppers the night with lesson's learned from her mother. As you an probably guess Dixie did not grow up with your typical mother. Hence, this is not your typical motherly advise
Many of the life lessons that Dixie lives by came from her mother and I asked her to share a couple of the ones that had the greatest impact on her and she obliged saying “They are words to live by.”
“If it's clear you can drink it. I like that one.” She told me. “If you put it in your mouth and it tastes good, do it again” These are just a sampling of the words Dixie lives by. Many are not really suited for publication here, but all will be reviled at Dixie's show.
Dixie the Tupperware Lady or Dixie the waitress in a Honky Tonk is consistent in the message she is determined to spread to the world. “My biggest message is to wear your own crown, do the things that are going to make you happy. The people that we look up to are all the people that didn't do what everybody told them to do. The Steve Jobs, the Gaga's, Madonna and all the people that are quirky. Yes they ruffle feathers but they are the most successful and respected whether you like them or not.
While the show is not without issues the sound needs work and there is need to tighten overall, especially in the first half, a Dixie audience is not coming looking for quality construction of a play. They are coming to drink and laugh. They get both. The audience for Dixie's new show laughs so hard and so often there were many around me that were clearly in pain from not being able to stop laughing. Dixie has another hit on her hands, I dare say she has topped the Tupperware show.
Dixie's Never Wear a Tube Top on a Mechanical Bull play's Bass Hall's McDavid Studio through Sunday, November 22nd. Tickets are $35-$45 and available at http://basshall.com/
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