Defining Art Lines

So Nuit Blanche was this weekend. I know my last post was about Nuit Blanche as well but I promise I won’t be repeating myself here. I hope you all had a fun, safe night and got to go out and have fun.

I had a show this past weekend called After the Ball is Over, it was a remount of a show we did in March but it definitely had different vibes to it, different characters and our cast/crew was bigger. Being an anxious person I was already concerned at the beginning that my stuff was going to get taken ( my fave backpack got stolen at a fringe party this past summer and ever since then I’ve trusted humanity and the good in people less ) but we locked our stuff up and at the end of the night all of my valuable items were still there.

I’m going to reiterate the safety part of Nuit Blanche here. As I didn’t see much else after my show I”ll just talk about what happened in our show in regards to safety. And I feel it needs to be talked about. There were moments for me, where as an actor, as Reba myself, I felt a little unsafe more than I would like to. In those moments I got taken out of my character, and out of my world and had a stand off so to speak with reality. Now there were other moments that I was not a part of but was told about afterwards that happened during our show that had a disrespectful situation and were also unsafe. I won’t talk about them because they were not my moments and it’s not my story to talk about.

I will talk about how for an entire loop ( our show ran on a loop timed to music ) I had an older gentleman follow me around by himself and it made me feel unsafe and uncomfortable. There is a moment in each of the loops where I have a one on one ( like a monologue situation ) with someone and I remember him standing at the doorway looking into the place where I went and I waited. I didn’t want to have my one on one with him. It made me uncomfortable, it made me feel unsafe. So I waited until other people showed up and pulled my female friend in to have a one on one with.

There was another situation where I had a stand off with a male audience member on the staircase because he wouldn’t move out of my way. He pretty much man-splained himself standing on the staircase refusing to move. I didn’t want to move, I was a ghost and I wasn’t supposed to see people but rather pass through them, see around them. Eventually I did move because he wouldn’t and I didn’t want to create an unsafe situation for myself. I also got called a pushy bitch by an audience member who wouldn’t let myself and another actor into a room where we were supposed to be in.

Now some people may say, you should expect this or not be as surprised when these situations happen because it’s Nuit Blanche. Because there’s lot of people. To that I would say no. Yes, I expected a lot of people. What I didn’t or shouldn’t have expected was disrespect from the audience in our show. Yes, generally some people will be tools and be awful, but in my mind those people aren’t necessarily the ones that come to Nuit Blanche. Or if they did, they discovered how weird our show was and left.

As actors in rehearsal we talked about safety, and feeling safe with each other. There’s a moment where we have what was described to us as an orgy scene between about five or six of us. I know your mind just automatically went into the gutter, because you’re human. But it wasn’t all about being sexual it was more about intimacy with one another and feeling that comfort between one another. We traced each other’s bloodlines which was fascinating and became this almost dance in itself. Nowhere in there did I feel unsafe with my other actors or feel uncomfortable, and some of them I had just met this week. Maybe that says something about me or the safety and vulnerability that rehearsal requires.

But I think it’s important to know where the line is. Where is the respect for art line? How can we define it? How we can do that and still be comfortable in each other’s spaces and respect each other’s spaces without something becoming a dangerous situation?

I don’t have answers to these questions. Obviously. But it’s something I’m thinking about, and have been since Nuit Blanche. I loved our show, and the creative expression it was. I loved getting to create and play with artists that I haven’t had the chance to work with yet. It was fun and an eye opening experience all in one.

Here’s a quick pic of the Rocker space we had before the party started :

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And here’s a link that describes what After the Ball is Over was about:

https://allevents.in/winnipeg/after-the-ball-is-over-nuit-blanche/193959114347647

And one more- we had AMAZING pre show music ( I expect nothing less from my lovely talented friend that put this all together) here is one of the songs we had the pleasure of listening to when we were outside waiting to go in:

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2 thoughts on “Defining Art Lines

  1. I’m kind of surprised surprised other audience members didn’t step in, honestly. They may not have been able to see how uncomfortable it was making you but they maybe they could have seen how it was affecting the show. Not that it’s their responsibility, but I’d be pretty pissed off if I came to see a show and then a member of the audience essentially prevented a scene from happening the way it was supposed to. I hope it doesn’t deter you from doing shows like this again because I really did enjoy After the Ball is Over; it’s fun and unique and interesting.

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    1. That’s true- a show that’s all about audience participation would be the place you’d hope audience members would step in. It sounds like an interesting show!

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