Blind Date is a raw, intimate and honest portrayal of what it means to put yourself out there. Rebecca Northan creates an experience that moves beyond the traditional notion of theatre. The performance takes the entire audience along with them on a voyeuristic journey into someone else’s life and the date is both familiar and not. When I go to a play I sometimes wonder if the actors or director has considered the entire space. Often theatre is set up so that we go in, all face forward on our chairs and watch as the actors entertain us from the confines of the stage. Blind Date used up the entire space, the actors knew we were all there and this became “our” experience.
Prior to the show we’re all hanging out in the Cabaret space and mingling with the performers. You can tell who’s in the show because they have red clowns noses on which at first I didn’t quite understand because if this is a play about a blind date, how is a clown’s nose appropriate?
By the end of the show the noses provided two really important functions for me. First, they created a separation between the actor and the selected ‘date’. In this particular show the audience member was really on his game and I had brief moments where I forgot he wasn’t a professional actor. That being said there is an unbelievable risk being taken by both David Benjamin Tomlinson and Julie Orton because they become fully responsible for carrying the full weight of the performance. No matter what happens. When you stick an unknown entity such as an audience member into a full show there is no telling how many terrible things can go wrong. The audience member could just be impossible, difficult, afraid, defensive or a whole host of possibilities. I suppose on that’s not unlike going on a blind date where your mind will want to run over all the scary things that could go wrong which is precisely why this show works so leaving meriting on the edge of my stool for the whole show.
“Fundamentally it’s the same show every night but then again it’s not.” -Mark Aikman, Buddies In Bad Times Theatre
The clown noses were also a metaphor for how brave it is to put oneself out there. Whether that’s in the form of a blind date or by being visibly queer when you make some portion of your self stand out you risk being made fun of. That’s kind of what the whole performance was like, a giant risk-taking adventure that paid off.
“Where does the date begin and the fantasy end? By constructing this simple yet brilliant meta-theatrical premise in her show, Northan has created a spellbinding evening of unpredictability and performance acumen.” -David Bateman, Bateman Reviews