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