‘Blind Date,’ Queer Nights at the Centaur Theatre
The Refreshing Play Celebrates Queer Intimacy
“The thesis of Blind Date has always been, ‘Everyone is loveable.’ There is great joy in leaning forward in your seat and watching strangers attempt to connect. It’s what being human is all about,” reads the Centaur Theatre’s pamphlet for Blind Date.
On Thursday, Mathieu was waiting for his date. He was seated at a small round table, legs crossed, fidgeting. His date was late.
“I have been waiting for two hours,” he said. “How long are you supposed to wait for a blind date?”
“Fifteen minutes,” someone in the crowd chanted, only to be met with a glare.
Mathieu, however, decided to take matters into his own hands. “I am going out shopping!” And by shopping, our red-nosed friend meant he will peruse the crowd for a replacement date.
A blind date is what he signed up for, and a blind date is what he will get!
“Oooooh, the straight men are quaking!” he joked. “You there!” He pointed to the left side of the crowd to a blond, shy looking man named Doug, and invited him on stage. Ironically, his sweater sported the phrase “keep calm,” but for the next 20 minutes, he was anything but.
And that’s how Rebecca Northan’s queer version of Blind Date started.
After the heteronormative version’s success of her improvisation play, Northan deemed it fit to give her public the queer version, starring David Benjamin Tomlinson.
Much like the straight version, Mathieu’s date changes every performance. Both he and the audience have no idea what to expect. Will the date be shy and uncomfortable? Will their melding energies create one of the greatest chemistries seen on stage?
Or, will the audience witness a horrid date that will end with Mathieu sneaking out in the middle of it, leaving the bill to his date? What? It could happen…
Of course, Tomlinson makes sure to engage in a conversation with his probable scene partners prior to getting on stage, as consent is at the core of the play. Northan’s primary concern is the potential blind date’s comfort—Several people make Mathieu’s list, and only once he “goes shopping” through the crowd does he know who he will share the night with.
What was truly refreshing about this play was its realism. The pair did not hit it off from the beginning, and their chemistry required some honing on Doug’s part. The audience was witnessing a typical blind date.
For the first 20 minutes, Tomlinson’s scene-partner was chugging down his drinks, trying to relieve the obvious tension he was feeling. As the date progressed, however, both Mathieu and Doug became at ease with each other, and started exploring their common grounds, one of them being their queerness.
Although Mathieu does not look a day over 35, the age difference between him and his scene partner was made apparent when Doug said he was 25, and Mathieu confessed he was 50. Everyone in the room gasped. What is this man’s secret?
Two decades separated these men, and yet both faced inevitable discrimination for being themselves. As Doug grew up in a military family, coming out was not an easy task to go through. Mathieu’s 90s coming out was not quite the picnic either, but his touching revelation to his supportive mother made the audience and Doug coo.
Queer Blind Date is daring, hilarious, spontaneous, and most of all, real. What makes it even more appealing is the looming respect for consent, and love.
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