Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]
Most men, I suspect, are deeply curious about why their wives, girlfriends, mothers and female coworkers are attracted to Tupperware – and in particular, the Tupperware party. “It’s just plastic kitchen stuff,” I’ve heard more than one man say over the years. And that’s true. Yet women all over the country – and likely, all over the world – congregate in each others’ homes and spend an entire afternoon or evening ogling the latest in food storage units.
Or do they?
Well, guys, the mystery has finally been solved – thanks to playwright Doug Stone’s “Sealed for Freshness,” which made its Michigan premiere May 14 at The Box Theatre in Downtown Mount Clemens. And while the witty (but occasionally crude) script breaks no new ground or sheds no new insight into the human condition, it does provide plenty of laughs – which, on opening night, came from a mostly female crowd that seemed to love pretty much every minute of the production. (So much so, in fact, that two women – one at intermission and the other while leaving the theater – were overheard making plans to return with groups of their friends.)
Stone sets his story in 1968, a pivotal time in American history. As feminists were burning their bras, other women – the “good” wives and mothers – were beginning to question their roles in society. And Tupperware products were changing the way a woman managed her kitchen.
One such woman is wife and mother Bonnie (Amy Ricker), who agrees to host a neighborhood Tupperware party in her home. But this is no ordinary Tupperware gathering: New neighbor Diane (Ashlee Armstrong) is the Midwest Tupperware Sales Queen, and the party is meant to introduce her – and the new line of products – to the other women on the street.
But like an episode of “Desperate Housewives,” all the women at the party harbor secrets – which, of course, come tumbling out, thanks to a mix of cocktails and trailer-trash Sinclair (Mandy Logsdon), the ultimate guest-from-Hell, who has more in common with a pit bull than an expectant mother-to-be. As one of the women notes in the second act, “Maybe we shouldn’t drink at Tupperware parties” – and truer words have never been spoken!
While historians have yet to credit Tupperware as the number one instrument of social change in 1960’s America, that’s the position playwright Stone – somewhat tongue-in-cheekly – advances in “Sealed for Freshness.” After all, “Tupperware is not only changing the way women think about the kitchen,” Diane says to the group. “It’s changing the way women think about themselves.”
And by the end of his play, that’s exactly what happens – believably or not.
Despite a few technical glitches on opening night, director John Forlini serves his audience with a delightful romp through one of the 20th century’s most tumultuous eras – when big hair, orange shag carpets and well-stocked liquor carts in the home gave way to wholesale changes in how women interacted with (and were viewed by) the world around them.
All five women in the script represent different character types, and most are well delineated. That’s especially true of Allyson Ortwein as the perky, but not-so-bright blonde bombshell Tracy Anne; Eve Gregson as the well-to-do neat-freak Jean; and Armstrong’s happy, peppy Diane.
The show’s pivotal character, however, isn’t quite the standout she should be – mostly because of Logsdon’s inexperience on the stage. She’s got the attitude, the presence and the physical characteristics down pat, but her line delivery misses many of the tasty punches tossed her way by the playwright. (She did, however, have a great ad-lib on opening night when her wig started to slip off.)
Also missing is an important lighting and sound effect at a very strategic moment towards the end of the play.
So, men, if you’ve ever wondered what REALLY goes on at Tupperware parties, you might want to join your wives or girlfriends at “Sealed for Freshness.” But be forewarned: What they do behind closed doors may shock you! (It sure chocked Bonnie’s husband, Richard (Mike Trudel)!
‘Sealed for Freshness’
What’s That Smell? Productions at The Box Theatre, 70 Macomb Place, Mt. Clemens. May 14-16, 20-23, 27-28 & June 4-6. $16 ($1 of each ticket will benefit The Anton Art Centre). 586-954-2311