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The Pie Party
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For a film based on actual events, there’s enough veiled symbolism in this piece to choke Charo.

In creating Pie Party, the Characters set out to answer Fellini’s The Clowns with a chef-d’oeuvre of their own, based on their years as traveling pie salesmen. They sought to capture the dizzying heights, the pathos, the buttery goodness, of life inside a pastry van. The result, filmed on the set of the Buster Keaton’s lost classic "Through the door I go, I go…and then again I go," the Characters manage to condense their myriad experiences on the road with pie into brief encounters with Seth as they enter his "apartment," apparently for a "pie party" (wink wink). As the characters parade past, we are drawn into the high-rolling, exclusive world of baked goods, and treated to a penetrating look at its many facets. For example, observe Jim’s brilliant embodiment of the crushing weight of life as he heaves his pie through the door; Kym’s frightening bonhommie; Sarah’s Madonna-like piety; and Seth’s emotional arc from joyful host to Jesus-brutality witness.

Finally, the symbolism. Though the series entrances and exits may seem to be little more than lazy attempts at latzi on a too-hot day in an un-airconditioned East Village dance studio, they are in fact finely crafted and brimming with meaning.

  • The tissue in Jim’s nose? His subtle nod to Jimmy “The Shnoz” Durante.
  • Alex’s shaming of the pie? Her personal indictment of dairy products’ role in her social isolation of 1998, and a vow never to allow whipped cream to rot in her costume again.
  • The bear in the fez? A playful kick in the balls to Communist Russia... and the reluctant settling of a bet with a fellow actor who alleged he could walk on his hands inside the suit.
  • Jesus’ rather aggressive expulsion from the party? We just hate God.

Also of note is the presence of Devin, a former Six Character who broke his vow of silence and was ejected from the group to much speculation and hoo-ha. He later fell in with a nogoodnik group of kow-towing, "speaking" comedians.

Pie Party was originally followed by its sequel Middle Ages, a musical PSA about colonic irrigation commissioned by Modern Maturity magazine. Perhaps The Six Characters’ most sensitive work, it depicts their struggle to continue their physically-demanding shows into their 50’s. Middle Ages was lost in a tragic menorah fire, and later reconstructed as a stage piece about the historical period of the same name.

Copyright © 2005 Six Characters.

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