From housewives to bra-burners in two hilarious hours

By Scott Harrah

Writer/director Doug Stone, creator of the syndicated comic strip “Raw Material,” delves deep into the world of Tupperware parties in his hilarious new off-Broadway comedy, Sealed for Freshness.

It’s 1968 in a small town in Illinois. Bonnie Kapica is a disillusioned housewife who’s setting up her suburban tract house for a Tupperware party when her husband Richard begins arguing with her. She angrily tells him to get lost because she needs time alone with her girlfriends, especially since he no longer pays much attention to her. He tells her that he hasn’t touched her lately because she doesn’t look the way she did when they were first married nearly 20 years ago.

As soon as hubby leaves and Bonnie’s friends arrive, the play turns into what can best be described as one long, twisted, outrageous episode of The Golden Girls crossed with Mary Tyler Moore, with a few shades of Clare Booth Luce’s The Women thrown in for good measure. In fact, everything about the play seems to pay homage to sitcoms from yesteryear.

Much of the drama centers on Diane’s dark secret about her husband. She says he passed away, but she soon reveals that he left her. This is disclosed after much taunting from Sinclaire, who becomes totally bombed on several gin martinis. The outstanding J.J. Van Name as Sinclaire truly steals the show because she has the best bitchy lines, and she delivers them with the appropriate amount of sarcasm. However, we eventually learn the real reason why she’s so bitter and negative about everything, and her character becomes a bit more likable.

The evening soon becomes less about the inherent camp of Tupperware and more about women getting drunk and discussing their broken dreams and unhappy marriages. That may sound like a grim night of theater, but it isn’t, thanks to Stone’s wonderfully catty dialogue and the remarkable ensemble cast.

The plot centers on the emotional liberation of the women in one solitary evening, as we see them go from being bored, unfulfilled housewives to bra-burning feminists. Like the classic TV sitcoms it sends up, Sealed for Freshness is fairly predictable from beginning to end, but it’s so much fun that it doesn’t matter.