In the first episode of Room for Cream, the lesbian serial produced by the Dyke Division of Theatre of the Two-Headed Calf, a coffee shop owner, Ellie, has a conversation with her young employee, “Baby Butch” Bailey. “I know how exciting it can be when you first come out,” says Ellie soothingly. Bailey deadpans, “The marching band, the ice cream cake, the dental dams . . .” But make no mistake: Even if Bailey does not receive pink-triangle balloons and multiple copies of Our Bodies, Ourselves, the Dyke Division is throwing itself a party. Room for Cream, which played to elated crowds last spring at La MaMa, has returned to present all 11 episodes over the course of a few weekends.
Directed by Brooke O’Harra and written by O’Harra, Jess Barbagallo, Laryssa Husiak, Brendan Connelly, and Laura Berlin Stinger, the series traces the lives, loves, and lattes of ladies in the small town of Sappho, Massachusetts. At the local coffeehouse, these women (and the occasional male interloper) fret about their romantic difficulties, occasionally slipping off for a tussle in the supply closet. A narrator describes the proceedings as “creamy, catty, caffeinated.”
Though Room for Cream has nearly as many sex scenes as The L Word, it positions itself far from the glamour of that TV show. Chic haircuts and alluring outfits do not adorn the stage. Nor does the cast, however lovely, conform to Hollywood standards of pulchritude. As most episodes were written one week and rehearsed the next, the actors must contend with falling scenery, misremembered lines, and the indignity of choking on a prop scone. The end result is naughty, sloppy, and unfailingly large-hearted—an unexpectedly generous cup of joe. ALEXIS SOLOSKI