A one-woman show that celebrates vulnerability through humour
Feb 03 2023
By Amy Kenny
It can be hard to keep anything fresh when you’ve done it 700 times. Stéphanie Morin-Robert ensures her one-woman show, Blindside, stays that way by constantly re-writing it.
“The show doesn’t have a director, but I would really say that the audience has played that role,” says Morin-Robert over the phone in early February. “Because I've performed it so many times, each time I adjust and shift according to what the experience with the audience was the time before … it's really about a conversation with the audience.”
Each night’s conversation changes the tone of the next night’s conversation just a bit. That’s how Blindside, which Morin-Robert developed in 2013, evolved from a more serious solo script reading to a comedy featuring multimedia elements and puppetry.
In the beginning, Morin-Robert was shy, self-conscious and insecure about the highly personal performance. Blindside focuses on her childhood and her experience losing an eye to retinoblastoma (a form of eye cancer) as a toddler. Morin-Robert has had a prosthetic ever since. As a child, she experienced bullying and negative comments. Her insecurity around it only grew when she changed schools and was suddenly surrounded by a new group of kids who hadn’t grown up with her and didn’t know her story.
The more she’s told that story onstage though, the more comfortable she’s become with it.
“That really shifted things, seeing people's emotional reactions and then taking on the challenge of having people go from feeling uncomfortable to being able to really enjoy and laugh about it with me.”
These days, she removes her prosthetic during the show and uses it as a puppet.
“I kind of take the audience on a ride a little, to the point that at the end, I'm not wearing it. And I finish the show very casually, as though I am (wearing it.) And you kind of forget that I'm not, which is the goal, right? Is to have people become less scared of what's different and have them feel comfortable. It's about normalizing normalizing disabilities.”
When she first conceived of the show, Morin-Robert never thought it would have a 10-year life span. Since then, she’s translated it to French and performed it at festivals and events in London, Ottawa, Victoria, Fredericton, Montreal and beyond. Throughout, she’s connected with people, with and without visual impairments, who reach out to share their insecurities and their vulnerabilities. The same way she says the audience has allowed her to be open with them, it’s led them to be open with her. In the end, the show isn’t a lament about insecurity; it’s a celebration of what can happen within those uncertain spaces.
When she’s in Whitehorse for the February 15 show, Morin-Robert will also perform for the local French schools. She will also conduct a workshop with the Association franco-yukonnaise on Feb. 17, and perform stand-up at The Boiler Room alongside Dave Merheje.
Tickets for Blindside are $20 for adults and $10 for youth (19 & under) and are available at yukontickets.com.
View her website here.