Was back at the Scotiabank Studio Theatre at the Pia Bouman for more SummerWorks adventures last night, for a couple of things – but first, I’d like to talk about Fée Fatale’s production of Sabrina Reeves’ Blindsided, directed by Matt Holland, with film editing by Paolo Santos and video installation by Jacques Poulin-Denis.
Blindsided is a multi-media journey of perception and memory, triggered by a cycling accident – and we see Hayley’s life flash before her eyes. Hayley Hughes teaches a film restoration class – more specifically, the work of her famous grandmother Nan Hughes – and the piece begins with Reeves entering, as Hayley, into the world of the classroom. We are her students and she is the exacting, yet wryly funny, prof.
In a powerful, and also archly funny, performance, Reeves takes on several characters in addition to Hayley: Nan; Hayley’s brother Declan; and a glamourous German film actress, notorious for acting in Nazi films as a child (a subject in some found footage that came into Nan’s possession, and fascinated Hayley and Declan). As Reeves morphs in and out of these characters, and opens up the folding flats to reveal yet another layer of the playing area, snatches of moments from Hayley’s cycling accident appear, then moments from childhood when she and Declan stayed with Nan – and a horrible childhood accident of a friend.
Film restoration becomes a metaphor for restoring a life. In the classroom scene, Hayley tells us that the first step to restoring a piece of film is to assess the damage. We also learn that Nan’s greatest career achievement came through an accident. Accidents have the resulting impact of permanently changing the subject – but not necessarily in a bad way. And like old film stock, we are delicate things, but when handled with great care we can be mended. But, after an accident, things are never the same.
Blindsided is a captivating living collage of moving pictures, memory, mixing art and science, and putting what’s broken back together.
Blindsided continues its run for three more performances at the Scotiabank Studio Theatre at the Pia Bouman until Sun, Aug 17 – see here for exact times/dates.