Sister Dottie S. Dixon
Oh my heck, y’all! Charles Lynn Frost returned to the stage Wednesday evening to revive the role of Sister Dottie S. Dixon! If you’re a fan of Sister Dottie, this is probably something you already knew, but if you’ve never seen a Sister Dottie production before, here’s a little crash course: Dottie’s character was originally created by Frost and appeared on KRCL’s Now Queer This produced by Troy Williams. After reaching some popularity and receiving plenty of positive feedback from listeners, Dottie was given her own radio segment called What Not, What Have You and Such as That with Sister Dottie S. Dixon. The radio segments eventually spilled over onto the stage with The Passion of Sister Dottie S. Dixon, and that lead to Dottie being crowned “Best Utahn” in City Weekly’s Best of Utah 2010.
The Sister Lives On, co-written by Frost and Christopher R. Wixom and directed by Robin Wilks-Dunn, continues to follow the life and misadventures of the “accidental advocate,” Dottie S. Dixon. Kent Frogley returns as Dottie’s longtime friend and pianist, Sister Dartsey Foxmorland, and, as always, is quite humorous and entertaining without saying a single word.
The opening of The Sister Lives On catches you up on what Dottie has been up to since the last play, reviews what she stands for (family preservation, gay rights/gay marriage, equality in all things and absolutely no violence or bullying) and covers some of Dottie’s most famous moments, for all you gosh darn newbies. There’s been a sex tape scandal, in which Dottie and her husband were practicing some moves from Dottie’s sex instruction book, The Mormon Kama Sutra! Dottie’s son Donnie is now 34, living back at home and has a new Latino boyfriend named Joaquin (which, before being corrected, Dottie pronounces as “Joe-ack-win”). Dottie is quick to identify the similarities between Joaquin’s and her own families: “Yours came across the boarder, ours came across the plains.”
Dottie takes a moment of the show to add to the audience’s linguistic education with “Spaneesh 2: An advancement in learnin’ by Dottie S. Dixon,” a continuation of the first “Spaneesh” lesson from The Passion. Keep in mind, this isn’t Spanish as in Spain, this is Spaneesh as in Spanish Fork. By covering everything from Advanced Vowel Replacement to word smashups and even the Case of the Missing “T” (a common issue in any Utah community), Dottie makes it a little easier to understand the mysterious and elusive Utah accent.
With any Dottie production, there are important and real issues to deal with within the constructs of the show, and The Sister Lives On is no different. Dottie learns that her son is addicted to meth, an unfortunately widespread problem here in Utah, and then PFLAG asks Dottie to speak about an anti-bullying bill in front of the Utah Legislature, “The biggest bunch a bullies in the state.” There are a few other issues that Dottie has to deal with this time around, but landsamercy, revealing those would be too much of a spoiler. I will say this, however, Dottie runs into the Queen of the Eagle Forum, Gayle Ruzicka, while at the Legislature. That scene alone is worth the price of admission.
As always, Dottie takes the audience along with her through each step of her journey, ensuring that everyone understands how and why she comes to her decisions and encouraging people to be more open-minded in each of their own lives. She also continues to bring some of the funniest lines to ever be spoken on stage: “If Jesus was walking the Earth today, he’d slap the shit out of some of the people I know.”
This just might be the last Sister Dottie play, so it’s definitely something you should take the time to see. Dottie–The Sister Lives On! runs from February 15 to March 4 at Salt Lake Acting Company. You can find out more about show times and SLAC’s other productions at saltlakeactingcompany.org.