By Robert Blood
[Editor’s note: The following interview was culled from conversations between the reporter and Amber Bosworth, director of “5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche” and artistic director of 4AM Productions. “5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche,” a 4AM Productions event, is 6 & 8 p.m. Sept. 29 & 30 & Oct. 6 & 7 at Stage TOO, North Cortez Street Alley, between Willis and Sheldon streets, 928-445-3286, 5LezEating.BPT.Me. Tickets are $17 online, $22 door.]
What’s “5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche” about?
Well, it’s about five women, all members of the Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein. It takes place in the 1950s, and they’re doing a quiche breakfast every year for this sisterhood. Again, it’s the 1950s, and, basically, when the bomb hits and all hell breaks loose, they end up in a bunker and they’re the last people left. They live together and, of course, all their secrets come out. All of them but one basically admit that they’re lesbians. They weren’t able to live their truth, but the bomb changes things and it’s time for them to be true to themselves.
Would you tell us about the characters?
There’s Lulie, and she’s the president of the group. She’s very patriotic, very gung ho at the beginning, and then everything changes for her. There’s Dale: She’s never looked at man since she was 3-years-old and very established in the community, and it’s the only place she can really talk to other people. She’s the recorder and she takes pictures. Ginny is the newest member, and she’s from England and gets picked on a lot. She’s a sweet, younger girl. There’s also Wren. She’s one of the older characters who keeps everyone in line — very matronly and kind of the mother hen. And then there’s Vern. She’s the most gung ho, actually. She’s very tomboyish and she tells it like it is. She has no filter.
Given the title, I’d wager it’s a comedy, but those personalities make for a lot of potential drama.
It’s definitely more comedic. The bomb is such a heavy metaphor for anything that we go through. It takes something really big or traumatic for us to admit the truth to ourselves. You kinda have to make a comedy of that, right? One of the characters doesn’t make it, so there’s that. … Part of what adds to the comedic elements is that the audience is a big part of the show. The characters, the actors, get to bring them in and right off the bat they’re invited. We acknowledge that they’re there. It’s a really great aspect of a play that’s being done in such a small place. You know, in a small, intimate place, it’s hard to ignore the audience, so it’s nice we don’t have to do that. You, as an actor, get to look them in the eye and treat them like another character. That’s a great thing. So, yeah, it’s not a heavy drama. It’s a comedy.
This is your first time directing a full-length play. Why make the change to directing?
I love acting, and that’s where my true passion is. Directing has really been a response to a deficit of newer things being brought here. I saw this show and I realized it wasn’t going to be welcome in certain places, just because of the name, and if I wanted to see it done here in Prescott, I was going to have to do it myself. So, I got together with John Duncan, he’s the producer and the executive producer of 4AM Productions.
Your leap from actress to director — what surprised you about your new role?
I didn’t know how hard it was going to be. (Laughs.) I didn’t realize everything that’s involved in it. It’s a lot of effort to focus on just one character, let alone the whole picture. It requires a lot of attention. … In practical terms, that means people ask about picking a particular prop, but no, I have a particular vision, so I have to find it. As the director you have a vision for how you want things to look and you have to stay actively involved in ever decision if you want to make sure everything fits that vision.
Why this play? What’s your take on this story?
Well, it’s a fairly new production. I’d never seen it until I found it. It was an off-Broadway show. I was searching for plays that were all women because I wanted women to take a more active role in theater. The name drew me in right away. When I read the script, I laughed the whole way through — it was so honest — so, I knew we had to do it. It might be set in 1956, but it’s relevant today. Whether we’re hiding our sexuality, our personality, or anything, really, it speaks to that with a fresh voice.
Obviously, the name invokes an evocative subject matter — namely, sexuality.
Well, I think some people shy away from the play because of the name. It’s important, though, that it’s not just a gay-straight thing. There’s a lot more going on. Hey, it’s a catchy title that both attracts attention and causes some people to shy away. Again, I knew this wasn’t coming here unless I did it, so I had to do it.
“5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche,” a 4AM Productions event, is 6 & 8 p.m. Sept. 29 & 30 & Oct. 6 & 7 at Stage TOO, North Cortez Street Alley, between Willis and Sheldon streets, 928-445-3286, 5LezEating.BPT.Me. Tickets are $17 online, $22 door.
Robert Blood is a Mayer-ish-based freelance writer and ne’er-do-well who’s working on his last book, which, incidentally, will be his first. Contact him at BloodyBobby5@Gmail.Com.