Blindsided calls itself “a one-person show married to a film installation,” and is meant to show the fracturing of one’s self after a traumatic event. It opens with Haley (Sabrina Reeves) lecturing on double exposure techniques in film, particularly the techniques of a pioneer in double exposure – a person who we quickly learn was the character’s grandmother.
While the idea of reproducing a “double exposure” on stage by using two different media is innovative, the film installation and one-person show are uneven in their strengths, and never do quite marry to form a cohesive show. The film pieces, with cinematography and editing done by Paolo Santos and installation done by Lucie Bélanger, are wonderful to watch. With subjects slipping in and out of focus and constant jumps between different points in time, the idea of a fractured psyche is very adeptly represented by them.
The one-person show aspect of the piece is not nearly as strong. Moments of audience participation are thrown in randomly, and seemingly insignificantly. The timeline shift in the stage piece is not as clear. Reeves jumps between portraying different characters, and while her portrayal of Haley’s brother Declan is charming, her portrayal of an older woman towards the end of the piece is not as convincing. Rather than the two forms joining together to form a strong piece, they seem to hinder one another.
The ideas that prompted Blindsided are certainly strong, but the film aspect of the piece so powerfully overshadowed the theatre aspect of it, which makes me wonder if they could have done justice with film alone.
Presented by Fée Fatale and directed by Matt Holland, Blindsided is playing as part of the SummerWorks Festival until August 17th. For tickets and more information, visit http://summerworks.ca/2014/portfolio/blindsided/.