Review: Blind Confidence (Next Stage Community Booster 2021)

Graham Isador

Blind Confidence, written and performed by Graham Isador, is playing as part of the Storytelling series in the Next Stage‘s 2021 virtual festival Community Booster.

Sometimes things happen in our lives where we end up saying, “Well, at least I got a good story out of it.” When Isador was asked to help create a version of ‘edgy morning television’ for a Montreal market, at least he got a good story out of it.

‘Edgy morning television’ sounds to me like something people in hell would have to watch. Isador didn’t think it sounded like a good idea either, but he was persuaded to go through the planning and screen test process. He didn’t get the job, but he did end up with material for a good story.

I enjoyed his use of language and the way it painted a picture for me. I could see him dressed for his audition in his blue suit and crew neck t-shirt with a red bandana for a pocket square. Edgy, right?

He’s funny. His humour is dry and sometimes self-deprecating, and maybe a bit absurd.

As much as I enjoyed the story, though, I never really found myself fully engaging. He didn’t face forward; he stood at a 45-degree angle to what would be the front of the stage, never looking at the camera. I didn’t feel as if he was telling me a story; I felt as if he was talking to someone else, and I just happened to be there but not acknowledged.

In traditional theatre, we are used to not being acknowledged. We are voyeurs behind a “4th wall“. In storytelling, the experience is usually more direct – the performer is talking directly to the audience. There was something almost alienating feeling about that not happening.

Early on in the story, Isador said that he cultivated a public persona that was ‘aloof and mysterious’. Despite there being vulnerable moments within the work, his presentation reinforced the idea of aloofness for me.

But, the presentation is only one part of it. I enjoyed the content of the story – the language and humour. And, there was one specific part I related to very personally: Isador talks about how he has a degenerative eye disease and had asked for an alternative to a teleprompter. I also have accessibility needs and often have to ask for accommodations. Sometimes people react in strange ways to what seems like a fairly simple request.

In the end, I started it over and just listened. It was a bit like hearing a story on a podcast that way. One of the interesting benefits of prerecorded presentations is that we have options for enjoying them. If you like the physical presentation, you can take it all in, but you can restart it and not look if it is distracting you.

I won’t be checking out any edgy morning television ever, but hearing about it in a story is a good choice.

Details:

  • Next Stage Community Booster is a virtual festival. Once you buy a pass, you are able to access content behind the website paywall.
  • Ticket packages range from Tip What You Can to $100 depending on what you choose to access. See the website for ticketing information. (This, and 8 other stories, can be accessed through the Storytelling stream for $25 or is included with the Community Booster Membership for $100)
  • All digital content will be available as of 12:01 am on Thursday, January 21, 2021, and will be available until 11:59 pm on Sunday, January 31, 2021.
  • Download the digital brochure

Content Warning: Mature themes.

Photo of Graham Isador provided by Toronto Fringe

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *