If you’ve ever been witness to Stéphanie Morin-Robert on stage, then you know that she is simply adorable, engaging and just a little weird. Her one woman 75 minute long monologue about conception, her pregnancy and the birth of her first daughter Olive, in spite of being a seemingly pretty normal and ordinary story, is anything but, and it gets pretty weird, pretty quickly.
Beloved for her solo show BLINDSIDE, Morin-Robert explains that EYE CANDY, directed by SNAFU’s Ingrid Hansen, is a kind of sequel into the life of this strange girl growing up in Timmins, Ontario with a glass eye, caused by retinoblastoma. Just as she won the hearts of those who saw BLINDSIDE, EYE CANDY offers an even deeper look into her life, bringing with her an unsurpassable relatability with her audience, any audience.
She greets partons as they enter the theatre, which is a very nice, compassionate and human touch. And once the show starts, she makes a little joke that it was her the whole time, followed with a giggle. She jumps right into her story unabashedly admitting that she and Alastair (her baby daddy and star of his own first solo show INK, co-produced and directed by Morin-Robert – and also known as Jamesy of James and Jamesy’s High Tea and Tea for Two) have a lot of sex. And she means a lot… you know, to make a baby! It’s quite charming.
Although not necessarily a story for everyone, it is a story for anyone: sharing the gruelling details of the hardships, challenges, fears, joys, cravings as well as the scary and happy surprises of her first pregnancy. Everyone has a different experience and even if you will never ever be pregnant, (for any reason; health, choice or otherwise) there is a ton of insightful substance and real slice of life stories. So even if you don’t find anything that jives with you, you’ll fall in love with and laugh hysterically at her bizarre “baby puppet show”.
These puppet shows create a link between BLINDSIDE and EYE CANDY through the use of her many fake eyes, a projector and various body parts. They also facilitate as chapter markers of her journey; from conception, to first, second and third trimester to finally, post partum, with an added human touch of photo stills (amusingly linked to the fact that her doula invited a photographer to document her labour). She tells her story with honesty and grace, pausing for absorption at all the right moments and unashamedly encouraging the audience to engage with her. Whether this might be through response, clapping or cheering, there is never a moment when we are not involved.
Morin-Robert knows how to share; she has the art of storytelling down pat. Although I admit that I went in with preconceived expectations of something more reminiscent of the weirdness of the Merkin Sisters, after all, it was directed by Hansen, the queen of weird, but this was not the case. This was my only very tiny disappointment. I wanted more baby puppets. In the end though, this didn’t matter. The story Morin-Robert tells is witty, charming and empowering. Her comedic and unapologetic disposition creates enough weirdness that Merkin costumes are not needed. Instead she just keeps it real, still weird, but just down and dirty real and tells us about that time she shat herself, thus bringing herself down to our level, because really, who hasn’t shat themselves at least once in their adult life?
Engaging, empowering and at times frightening, EYE CANDY is sure to make you love life, love yourself and love your weirdness. So, make yourself a mashed potato sandwich with lots of butter and go see this little piece of life.
“WHO IT’S FOR”
This show is for anyone, especially those who are not squeamish about eyeballs. It is for those who appreciate good story telling, no matter the content, and who just like weird stuff. It’s also for families, those who want families and all my friends who are struggling to have babies and need a little hope.
SNAFU presents “EYE CANDY”
at the 29th St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival
Check out all our other 70+ reviews
from this year’s fest on our Fringe page!