In Tide Theatre’s West Coast premiere of “5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche,” Cold War-era, lesbian-identified, pent-up passions are revealed — as the title suggests — through quiche eating.
Although the absurdist comedy written by Evan Linder and Andrew Hobgood parodies peculiarities of first-wave feminists, its message is charged with political and philosophical vibes that resonate today.
Set in 1956, when a nuclear attack forces the Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein to remain in a bomb shelter during one of their quiche breakfasts, five of its members — all claiming to be “widows” — lead 71 of their fellow sisters (audience members also are attendees of the meeting) to rise above the subtext of women-loving-women, once and for all.
The laughs kick in as Ginny (Karina Wolfe), with her hands (and face) on deck, devours possibly the last quiche ever. Losing her senses after her first bite, Wren (Sophia LaPaglia) admits she has never actually been married.
She then spurs, rather quickly, revelations from the others about their own repressed sexual desires.
“Remember that sound you made when I was fixing your inseam?” Vern (Maura Halloran) asks Ginny. “I am a lesbian,” shouts Dale, played by the show’s director Jennifer Welch, filling in for Caitlin Evenson in one performance last week.
But the play, originally produced by The New Colony in Chicago, isn't just an exposition of submerged lesbianism; it addresses the nuclear scare, paranoia and issues of conformity. The women must break free from the closed-off shelter in order to continue their quiche breakfast tradition, Lulie (Susan Shay) proclaims.
Robust with layers and exploring the connection between sexuality and womanhood, the show presents an amusing twist on the age-old conundrum about whether the chicken, or the egg, came first.