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The comedic play '5 Lesbians Eating Quiche' is coming to Fringe World

The play 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche has been an off-Broadway success and quickly traveled around the world. Now a local production will be staged during Fringe World.

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Clinton Little chatted to the play’s director Lorna Mackie.

So I guess to get the obvious question out of the way…is eating quiche a euphemism or is it really just five lesbians eating quiche?
Well, on one level, it is indeed, five lesbians eating a quiche. Several quiches in fact.

However to the sisterhood, quiche is layered, complex and somewhat deified concept. It is the pursuit of perfection and a metaphor for life. And of course, no men and no meat allowed.

The show is based on the annual general meeting of the Susan B Anthony Society for the Sisterhood of Gertrude Stein, and like many fringe groups, while their views may seem absurd, they believe absolutely and completely in their cause. The pursuit of the perfect quiche is tied to their identity as individuals and sisters.

This play has been an growing in popularity over the last few years, how did you come across it?
I have a passion for quirky, modern shows. I keep an eye out for new ones, and I first heard about it in Fringe over east. The concept of a society of widows in 1950 and facade of respectability and communal baking hiding secret lesbians really appealed to me. Almost as if the CWA were secret swingers.

What attracted you to the time period of the 1950s?
I love all things about the 1950s, from the clothing to the furniture, but the 1950s themselves were a pivotal point in feminist history. With many women achieving some measure of independence during the second world war, and then being forced to return to home making, I can absolutely see that a sisterhood devoted to women, hidden behind respectable baking could take root.

The fact that the ladies only find their voice, and let their inner lesbians out in public once they believe that the rest of the world has been destroyed says a lot about how repressed they are in their day to day lives.

The ladies’ mantra is “No men…no meat…no manners” … how did eggs and cheese become a metaphor for suppressed lesbian longing?
The egg is viewed as holy to the sisters. It is perfect unblemished food, and a symbol of fertility and reproductive female power. The sisters revere the female strength, and the eff is the representation of this. To them, a quiche is the perfect food because it show cases the egg. This is also why they do not like meat, because it takes away from the flavour of the egg and the quiche.

How do these characters translate to a contemporary audience?
The ladies are absolutely relate-able. Each character has a clear character arc and development, and despite the ridiculousness of the situation (Russia dropping a bomb and destroying everything in the outside world), their sisterhood and friendship carries them through. They are adorable in their neuroses and peculiarities, and you can’t help but fall a little in love with them!

What has been the “takeaway” that audiences have left with in past productions?
This is the first time we have staged the show (the show is licenced, so each cast and production is independent of the others). I would hope that audiences will take away that your sisters will see you through just about anything, that when it all goes down, women are more than strong enough. And that you don’t need to hide who you are – in fact, you shouldn’t – the truth will out eventually. Just be your fabulous, crazy ass self.

Who’s your personal favourite character in the show and why?
I adore the character of Wren. I feel that Wren has the biggest change during the show. Wren is the events chairwoman, and is bubbly and wholesome to start with.

She’s what you imagine a cheerleader in the 1950s would be like, or possibly the prom queen. As the events progress, it emerges that she is in a lovely, loving lesbian relationship and is the first of the sisters to come out, and encourages and supports the others to reveal their true selves. While the starts as somewhat vapid, she shows a huge depth of emotion and strength to cope with the tragic events that occur.

Catch 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche  at Henry Summer from 21st February. Tickets are available from Fringe World

Clinton Little


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