Blindside is a totally funny story about a girl who can’t remember ever having two eyes growing up in northern Ontario.
Stéphanie Morin-Robert is indeed a wonderful storyteller. I spent the entire hour of her opening show riveted to each word. Her command of the audience is impeccable and this show sparkles like a well-polished piece of acrylic as it moves from uproarious, through the gamut of eye-related slapstick, and into all the deep sadness a seven year old is capable of.
It seems to me this show’s greatest strength is that it is funny without pretense. Morin-Robert tells her story without trying to make it into more than it is; it’s heartfelt and honest. The show addresses bullying without being about bullying, deals with cancer and death without being about cancer and death. Its pleasant and refreshing to hear a story that’s just funny, that is true, but is also not trying to smash you over the head with its truth. Rather, it presents itself and invites you to look closely at the journey of the young Stephanie towards self-acceptance. She’s brave to show us her “weakness,” but it’s so long been a super power for her that the struggle she lived is no longer traumatic for her. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, and it is charming as a result.
I also thought that the deployment of the camera and projector screen was useful to increase our closeness to the story and the teller in such a way that it made it hard to look away. By forcing our intimate engagement in this way, Morin-Robert provides a visual counterpart to the larger-than-life auditory presence she maintains in her story-telling pose, with her amplified voice filling the space between the stage and out ears.
If there is an area I would like this show to develop, it is in the way the dancing and camera pieces are integrated within the larger narrative. It isn’t that they stand out as thematically unrelated, but rather that there seems to be lack of stylistic coherence that I found a bit hard to navigate.
This show knows what it’s about, and its about a funny story, exceedingly well told.