Drop whatever you are doing and go see Stephanie Morin-Robert’s “BLINDSIDE” right this instant! This hilarious and touching autobiography about navigating through childhood with a glass eye is extraordinary in every aspect, a guaranteed Fringe favorite.
Morin-Robert has worn a glass eye since the age of two, when she was diagnosed with retinoblastoma and they removed her left eye to save her life. Therefore, she has been this way for as long as she can remember, and while the news of cancer and subsequent treatments were difficult for the people around her, she herself dodged all that trauma by being a blissfully unaware two-year-old. Very young, she noticed all the “perks” of cancer: everyone being really nice to her, extra desserts, getting to sit in the front seat of the car – she could have anything she wanted! So much power in her little hands.
In “BLINDSIDE“, Morin-Robert walks us through some of the important parts of her life from roughly seven to nine years old, mainly anecdotes involving her glass eye, but all kinds of other childhood adventures too: “photoshoots” with her beloved pet cat on her dad’s photocopier, making up wacky numbers for talent shows, using her “Make-a-Wish” wish on something most would deem trivial…
The glass eye really is at the centre of this show though. Glass eyes I should say, since she has a few spares (which she laughs off in remembering the good old days, before she knew that they’re EXPENSIVE). While being wildly entertaining, “BLINDSIDE” is educational as well, dispelling certain myths about glass eyes, and letting us see one up close… and also in places that are most assuredly not eye sockets. From horrifically embarrassing mishaps to highly inventive pranks and money-making schemes, not to mention tales of revenge on judgemental pricks, Morin-Robert’s childhood sounds like one hell of a ride. It is no wonder the quirky and mischievous little girl she was back then has grown into the creative powerhouse she is now.
With some dance, some hand puppetry, and live video of Morin-Robert’s face up close, “BLINDSIDE” is a minimalistic and beautifully crafted show in which we get to know a child who’s way too cool for her own good, and watch her grow from being ashamed and trying to hide her glass eye, to accepting it – and even realizing that it can actually be kind of cool.
Morin-Robert is a master of storytelling, a loveable and ridiculous woman with perfect comedic timing who could make a good show out of anything. But it helps that the stories she is telling would be compelling regardless of the teller. No spoilers, but this one story from sleep away camp where she did “the most intimate thing she’s ever done with anyone” is almost too perfect to have actually happened, but also too perfect to have been made up.
“BLINDSIDE” may very well generate tears of laughter, and other tears too. It is a true masterpiece that will leave audiences wanting more – which they can actually get by going to see Morin-Robert’s follow-up show “EYE CANDY”, also a part of this year’s Fringe festival (What a time to be alive!)
Stephanie Morin-Robert Performance Society presents “BLINDSIDE”
at the 29th St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival
Check out all our other 70+ reviews
from this year’s fest on our Fringe page!
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- Fringe Review: “Didn’t Hurt”: one man’s tale of trauma and recovery - June 10, 2019