Audiences in Calgary have been lining up to date this clown: Mimi, French from France, funny.
Rebecca Northan, a classically trained actress and comedienne, created Mimi (and became Mimi) for a short, naughty piece in the Luminato Festival's Spiegeltent'ntavern last year. Now, what started as a ten-minute cabaret show, has become a wildly popular, fully improvised 90-minute work of art called "Blind Date." Sold out during its first run at Toronto Harbourfront Centre, the show is now on stage in Calgary as part of the High Performance Rodeo.
With only four shows left, tickets in Calgary are hard to come by. Previous shows during this month's festival have been sold-out. Blind Date returns to Toronto on March 3, 2010 for a five-day run at The Harbourfront Centre.
The premise is simple: Mimi, a Parisian clown, is stood up by a blind date. She waits, then becomes impatient and hauls someone on stage from the audience.
How does she choose them? "The same way you pick someone you're going to date," she says, "It's just a feeling, a chemistry."
What follows is a true blind date, with all its inherent absurdities, sexual tension, and akward attempts to impress, on display for a full audience to see. Northan, who has done everything from Shakespeare to street performing, says she never takes a paid, seated audience for granted. Neither does she ignore the uncomfortable feelings of her guest.
"Wearing a clown nose reminds everyone that it's just for fun," she says, "The guys [from the audience] are usually pretty nervous, and I just gently remind them to relax. After all, that's the most interesting thing in the world; just watching someone be themselves."
Blind Date shows in Calgary January 22 and 23, at 7:30 pm and 10:00 pm in Lunchbox Theatre.Harbourfront Theatre in Toronto will produce the show March 3 - 7, at 7:00 pm in The Brigatine Room.
Published on The Ampersand January 22, 2010