Five Minutes with Catherine Alcorn And Nathanael Cooper From 5 Lesbians Eating A Quiche
5 Lesbians Eating A Quiche opens in Sydney this month. What’s the play about?
Catherine Alcorn: It’s 1956 and the Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein are having their annual quiche breakfast. The society have gathered to honour and celebrate their most sacred of dishes: quiche.
Shortly after the event commences, a nuclear bomb drops and the widows realise the Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein may be the only surviving members of the human race. Panic sets in and society secrets are revealed. I describe it as a CWA meeting on crack.
How does the play deal with society’s values in its 1950s setting, particularly around LGBTQI people?
NC: When we first meet the sisters they are the very picture of perfect 1950s housewives, widowed of course, but still upholding those values. But as claustrophobia sets in, secrets come out.
It’s set at a time when war threatened to destroy the world. Are there contemporary parallels?
CA: I believe that in uncertain times one is forced to look inward and identify what is truly important. That pressure allows you to let go of societal expectations. All caution and care is thrown to the wind and you simply follow your heart. That is universal and applicable to any decade, [and] we’re experiencing right now just as folks did in the ’50s.
NC: I think even today there are parts of the world where oppressive regimens or archaic belief systems and laws force people to hide who they truly are and disguise their feelings. They can probably relate to the plight the characters face when we are first introduced to them. But it is a comedy, it isn’t trying to make a political statement or offer a particular insight into the struggles people face.
Tell us about the character you play.
CA: I play the committee’s President Lulie Stanwyck. Lulie is a boss. She’s no fuss, traditional and doesn’t suffer fools. There is no one more passionate about quiche than Lulie. To her, the egg is the cornerstone of what makes a quiche magical, as she clearly explains in the forward of her best selling textbook Women Can Yes: The History of the Egg.
What’s the secret ingredient for a great quiche?
CA: No meat!
[5 Lesbians Eating A Quiche photo by Dylan Evans]