In a 1950s TV commercial, Marge is a bored housewife, Rex, her inattentive husband. Rex returns home to find Marge in the kitchen, where she has been working on dinner all day. But this will be no ordinary dinner. Marge is serving the Queen of Meatloaf, “a gustatory experience altogether unlike ordinary meatloaf.” The Queen of Meatloaf emerges from the kitchen in bedazzled, human form. Marge regales Rex with the Queen’s nutritional and nuptial benefits. They are so overcome by the Queen that they fall asleep at the table. The Queen begins to multiply, emerging in various human forms and wreaking havoc on consumer TV sets, before disappearing with a slow buzz and a fading dot of white light on the black screen. A “real” version of Marge and Rex proceed to have dinner. Marge looks on in disgust while Rex devours his meal. She lights a cigarette and approaches the dining room window, gazing out into the night with a new glimmer of awareness and resolve in her eye.
About Dina Fiasconaro
Dina Fiasconaro is a Baltimore screenwriter and film director. Her feature documentary, Moms and Meds: Navigating Pregnancy and Psychiatric Medication was released in 2016, and her short film Commercial for the Queen of Meatloaf was funded by the Saul Zaentz Innovation Fund in Film and Media at Johns Hopkins University and has screened at over 20 film festivals. Dina has an MFA in film directing from Columbia University, and is an Associate Professor of Film and Moving Image at Stevenson University. She is a member of Film Fatales and co-founder of the Baltimore Women’s Media Alliance, which both work towards gender parity in the film industry.
As a Director and Screenwriter, I am attracted to stories of women, with a psychological and subtextual component. I enjoy exploring what’s beneath the surface, what we hide from others, revealing an eventual cracking and unveiling of the truth. I am particularly attracted to this project not only because it fits these parameters, but because it presents a challenge as a surreal, absurd, post-modern “experimental narrative” with multiple layers of reality. I was initially struck by the dialogue, which is, like Mad Men, faceted with symbolism and humor. We laugh at the Saul Williams inspired rhymes while at the same time nodding our heads in recognition of their deeper meaning. Beneath the glossy veneer and lyrical dialogue of the commercial, there is much to explore, particularly with Marge and The Queen of Meatloaf, two complex and multi-dimensional female characters who bring the best (and worst) out of each other. I’m attracted to these two characters because they represent parts of me, the parts that struggle to balance my roles as a filmmaker, professor and mother. Is meatloaf going to solve Marge’s marital issues? No. But The Queen of Meatloaf is going to catalyze Marge’s growth as an individual, and help her “come into her own” as a strong, autonomous woman. The Queen is a manifestation of a part of Marge. The part of Marge that is non-conforming, powerful, independent. The Queen breaks Marge open, for Marge is a woman who does not fit the mold, but perhaps doesn’t know how to emerge from it without The Queen’s guidance. The Queen is different things to different audience members/consumers, which will be implicit in the casting of multiple queens. The different bodies through which her voice will manifest can be seen as a symbol of her fractured self, pulled in different directions by those who seek to profit from her existence, and/or those who seek to consume her. But even fractured, she is powerful, shifting, seductive, scary, supernatural.