Yesterday, I got my very first review in Winnipeg. While I wasn't exactly expecting 5 stars, I sure as hell was not prepared for what I got from CBC Manitoba. 1 Star.
According to the CBC website, 1 star means that this show is "a clunker. Don’t go. Unless you have a family member in the show. Even then, think twice."
For those of you who are just dying to read the whole review, by all means, go right ahead.
I'd really like to say that when I read this review I chuckled confidently, shook out my long blond mane and sexily strutted off as I continued to flyer... Or that I pulled a Colette Kendall, all middle fingers of artistic justice blazing among the detonation of righteous F-Bombs... but no, I wasn't that strong. Once the initially shock wore off, I just kind of melted. Natasha was the real professional. She took off to flyer another line-up as I took a moment in the ladies lavatory of Red River College. And I cried. Yes, that's right, the CBC made me cry because that shit f'n hurts.
When I was done, that's when I became proactive. I made a phone call to someone who has been doing this a lot longer than I have. His first piece of advice: Don't change a thing. Followed by "this may sound a little fucked but you should actually be happier to get 1 star instead of 3." It makes sense. If there are 150 shows in town, people will probably be skipping the middle ground reviews.
This conversation also made me wonder about how much importance we place on reviews. Since I got a poor one, many people swear to me that "no one really cares about the CBC reviews." However, if I had gotten 5 stars, would they still be saying the same thing? Who really cares about these stars? (OK, I do. Kinda. A little.) It is all so subjective.
Natasha and I then started planning our next step. But first, we watched Rob Gee's Fruitcake, a show the CBC gave 2 stars (a review which I can say was absolute bullshit as the show totally deserves 4 stars - though to be fair he is a psychiatrist talking about psychiatry - something the CBC apprently frowns upon). It was probably the best thing for me to watch at the moment because it included a wonderful little song with a chorus that goes "It could be worse, it could be worse, it's not time for the herse."
We then set off to own our giant star. You see, something odd started to happen. I was telling a fellow performer about the review when someone interrupted me:
"What show is this?"
"No Exit Upstage. The CBC gave us 1 star."
"Good. I'll probably like it then."
Well isn't that interesting?
While we won't be pushing the fact that we got 1 star at every opportunity, we are delving into a bit of a symbolic homage to the CBC.
I'll be wearing a single earing in the shape of a star until the end of the festival. I've even included it to my costume for the show which was absolutely super magic frakkin fantastic last night. If someone asks about my new accessory, I will gladly tell them about it, but until then I will just kick the flyering up a notch and do what I do best: talk passionately about the theatre (and myself).