Life with Mimi: Always changing.
There is something to be said about stage actors who put themselves in the precarious position of being judged performance after performance by a live audience. No director waits in the wings to yell “Take!” and there are certainly no benefits of post production editing. Throw in audience participation and the element of improv, and things could be disastrous. This is precisely what Rebecca Northan does during each performance of Blind Date.
The lights go up on stage and we are introduced to Mimi (Northan), a lovely French woman (wearing a clown nose), who has been stood up for a blind date. She quickly wades into the audience to select a replacement, and what follows is precisely that—a blind date, theatre style. The actress has only just met the player moments before, and she trusts that her instincts are right, in her ability to select someone who can help her put on a show for the following hour.
Being on this Blind Date comes with a few rules of course and there is a certain path that each performance will take. The evening begins in the restaurant, moves to the car and finally an apartment. The set comes complete with a “time out” corner where instructions are provided, context given and where the participant can collect themselves or ask for clarity, if needed.
The beauty of this type of show is that the introduction of each new “date,” will be unscripted and therefore utterly unique, which of course, keeps Northan on her toes. Choosing a dud could prove to be disastrous and make for a very awkward and/or dull evening.
Northan brings her co-star on stage and allows him to have his moment in the spotlight. The performance I saw was with a young Indian gentleman, new to Canada. He was brilliant in his shy, sweet demeanor, and in fact, it wasn’t just a blind date, it was (according to him) his first date since arriving in the country over a year ago. It was marvellous watching the actress pull the best out of her date, making him more comfortable as the minutes passed. It’s not hard to believe that the chap would have fallen in love by the end of the evening.
Blind Date marks the opening production of Tarragon Theatre’s 45 Anniversary Season. For tickets and more information, please visit: tarragontheatre.com