Who’da thunk scrapbooking could be so titillating?
Utah’s most progressive Mormon housewife is, once again, packing ’em in hard and tight. A rolling tide of adoring fans, and a few guppies, flooded the Chapel Theatre for a preview performance of the world premiere of Dottie — The Sister Lives On! at the Salt Lake Acting Company — a performance that finished off with a “standing ovulation.” Hailing from the picturesque “Spaneesh Fark,” Utah, Sister Dottie S. Dixon periodically travels throughout the state spreading her own spin on the Mormon gospel: to honestly uphold love and respect for everyone.
In this new inspirational play, Sister Dottie weathers waves of emotion prior to, during and in succession of taking an Atlantis gay cruise with her tall, quiet BFF Sister Dartsey, her gay son Donnie Jr. and his “hispanish” new boyfriend. In Sister Dottie fashion, here is brief overview of their trip: Trusie: Sisters Dottie and Dartsey encounter pygmy warriors of the Mayan jungle. Falsie: Dartsey is truly a Sister. Trusie: Dottie decides tight-fitting Speedos on gay men look like balloon animals.
After returning home from the cruise, and amidst an invitation from PFLAG to address the Utah Legislation on an anti-bullying bill, Sister Dottie juggles nine tormenting hospital floors between her ailing husband and her drug-addicted son (who are, in Dottie’s words, the gas in her SUV), which results in both life-changing and life-affirming events. Several months later, in celebration of the new addition to the Dixon family, Sister Dottie symbolically demonstrates her own brand of creationism, using shrewd baking skills.
Charles Lynn Frost, the creator and embodiment of Sister Dottie, has brought delightfully to life a boisterous, doughty advocate for social change — a robust visionary in a Lane Bryant floral top and denim capris, with a wisp of straw-like hair, cut and colored through a colander. In Dottie — The Sister Lives On!, Frost and co-writer Christopher R. Wixom have scribed a well-weaved and fast-paced sequence of events, never prolonging any particular scene. They have mapped Sister Dottie a teacher: She uses visual aids to teach about glitter-and-glue gun-sex education; she illustrates her farm-friendly approach to linguistics; and she attributes excellence in humanitarianism to one being.
The play is directed by Robin Wilks-Dunn who respectively gives plenty of artistic freedom, allowing for Sister Dottie to freely interact with the audience. The show is both funny and moving; in fact, Sister Dottie brought at least one audience member to tears, literally streaming down her cheeks. The woman could have been a plant — she could be to Sister Dottie what Gayle King is to Oprah Winfrey — but it’s doubtful; Sister Dottie is like a mother to all Utahns, with just a look we spill our sins to her. The power … the heart … to change minds, or at the least, to inspire the flow of guilt-ridden tears is inherent in Sister Dottie S. Dixon, to which I say, “Ya go, Gurl!” And I wholeheartedly thank Sister Dottie for inspiring me to take up scrapbooking.
Dottie — The Sister Lives On!, in an extended run, closes March 11. Tickets are available to limited performances at www.saltlakeactingcompany.org.