Feb. 20, 2013 - Issue #905: DOA No more - Trading in punk for politics
As the crowd mingles, a woman in a vintage-inspired red polka dot dress, meticulously curled hair, a charming French accent and a bright-red clown nose makes her way among them. The motive of her lighthearted conversation is simple—scope out a potential "date" for the evening.
Everyone takes their seats, and the woman sits at a café table onstage, explaining that her name is Mimi (played by Rebecca Northan, with Renee Amber taking over for select performances) and she's been waiting for her blind date for two hours. Is that too long? She inquires to her captive audience. Unphased, she announces she'll just find a new date, and goes shopping amongst the crowd, many of the men shifting nervously in their seats, wondering if they'll be the one selected to join her.
Mimi ultimately settles on Travis, a 25-year-old insurance broker who's come to the show with Lindsay, his girlfriend of three-and-a-half years. After Lindsay gives the go-ahead, Travis becomes Mimi's new date for the evening, and Mimi explains a quick run-down on how the show will work, including a time-out box intended to give either participant a break to return to the "real world" and work out whatever it is they may be having issues with at the time.
Blind Date may be fiction, but it fully embodies the tremendous tension of a first date: conversation punctuated with nervous giggles—both genuine and staged—get-to-know-each-other small talk and the nervous minefield of feeling out potential romance. Through it all, Northan takes impeccable care of her co-star, coaxing him through his nerves, encouraging him to be himself rather than display an air of bravado or act in a way he thinks he should for the sake of entertainment. (Significant others, fear not: you can call time-out too if your partner is doing something you aren't comfortable with—you can also call "bullshit" if they attempt to stretch the truth.)
Travis, a genuinely endearing and witty young man in his own right, was a great sport throughout the production, which fast-forwarded from the awkward first date to an even more awkward fifth date, where he brought the house down in rounds of applause after a surprising and entertaining execution of the couple's fist kiss—after receiving the OK from Lindsay, of course, who, when asked if she approved of him kissing the French girl, simply replied he might just learn something.
Northan's execution of the ever-changing story is flawless, never wavering from her character and propelling the story along with ease, despite what her co-star throws at her. And in that, Blind Date brings a new dimension to theatre, adding a very real sense of honesty that cannot be replaced through a staged production. Each show is different and each co-star brings something new to the table—their own feelings, hesitations and personalities. In Travis's case, he had the audience rooting for him from the get-go. A well-mannered, thoughtful young man, Travis admitted he didn't see himself as anything beyond an average guy, prompting Mimi to help him realize he is much more than that. While the show is all about good fun and it thrives on humour, it is also a thoughtful and heartwarming look inside the way others approach the dating game, and despite what we like to believe, most men really do just want to treat a lady right.
Until Sun, Feb 24 (7:30 pm)
Produced Kevin McCollum
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