“Dixie’s Tupperware Party” a high-energy extravaganza
The nation's top Tupperware salesperson comes with a crazy show, where no one is safe from either the occasional tease or the temptation of her real wares.
Dixie Longate poured herself a glass of Jack Daniels at the start of her show at the Marcus Center, but she had a good reason: “You can’t drink coffee onstage; it makes you poop!”
It was an opening announcement that perfectly foreshadowed the show’s racy humor, pace, and subject matter. Dixie’s Tupperware Party is exactly as advertised, a real Tupperware party complete with catalogs and order forms. But it’s a whole lot more: part-infomercial, part-interactive multimedia event, part-game show, part-sing-along. The humor is so fast-paced, it’s almost seizure-inducing. The show does not seem scripted at all. In fact, much of the fun derives from Dixie’s interaction with handpicked audience members. Dixie called her favorite victim, Mike, onstage to open a can of beans using Tupperware’s “revolutionary” can opener. He struggles so much that Dixie asks the audience “Is there a short, yellow school bus waiting outside?” to roars of laughter.
Dixie is a single mom of three from Mobile, Alabama. Instructed by her parole officer to get a job, she starts selling Tupperware. For Dixie, Tupperware represents female empowerment, and a way of life. After her third husband, Hector, threw a fake-crystal Tupperware bowl at her head, Dixie noticed the Tupperware bowl didn’t have a scratch on it. In a bittersweet moment of decision, Dixie decided to leave Hector and start her meteoric rise to the top of the Tupperware food chain. The bowl (her first piece of Tupperware) symbolizes empowerment instead of sorrow, and represents a new beginning for Dixie as a Tupperware salesperson.
Brownie Wise, the inventor of the Tupperware Party, is Dixie’s guru. 65 years ago, Brownie Wise thought up the concept of the Tupperware party. Dixie says “I’m sure not one of you knew Brownie’s name before coming into this room tonight. But who here has never heard of a Tupperware Party?”
Tupperware teaches her “YOU MATTER! YOU ARE A WHOLE!” It’s a message she passes on, albeit with a little subversion – she tells her audience they should pass the message onto their neighbors, telling them they are a “whole (hole)” too.
The sheer energy of the show won me over. The jokes come hard and fast. If one isn’t to your liking, no matter, another one comes along in the blink of an eye. As if by magic, the audience became genuinely sold on the Tupperware products. Dixie, almost subliminally, manages to actually sell her product, and the show becomes a non-cynical lesson in salesmanship.
Her testimony about the durability of the can-opener—“After the apocalypse, the only things left alive will be Cher, cockroaches, and this can-opener”—is as effective as it is funny. She playfully goads the audience members still on the fence regarding her wares: “If you sit on the fence, you end up with an assful of splinters!”
Dixie repeatedly makes the claim that “Tupperware brings people together.” After that show, it’s hard to argue.