|Posted by melanella on August 22, 2015 at 8:45 PM|
Have you ever been a prize? I mean literally. Something someone can win? If asked me this last week, I would have to say no. But then, on Monday, August 17th, I was contestant number three in The Dating Game at The Theatre on King. The show was produced by CrackerJack Theatre, created by my good friend Ken Gibb, as part of an ongoing, monthly series of surprise theatrical presentations. This was instalment number two and I will never forget it.
About a month ago, Ken approached me with the crazy idea of participating in a live version of The Dating Game and I was immediately game. Until I showed up at the theatre that night, roughly an hour to curtain, I knew little more than that. I had been told that I would be one of three contestants (one male, two females) vying for a date with the female bachelorette. Most importantly, I was told that I was not to tell a single soul. That’s kind of the whole point of CrackerJack Theatre : it’s a surprise! No one knows what they are in for until they dare to show up at the pre-determined time and place. It is truly unique and quite brilliant theatrical concept, and being on the inside this time around was a real thrill. Upon arrival, I am introduced to my fellow contestants: The female, Lindsay, I had met but surprisingly didn’t know very well. Peterborough’s theatre community is a lot like it’s queer community: small and incestuous - and she’s a part of both. The male, Tristan, I did not know. A former roommate of Ken’s, Tristan is a pierced, tattooed, generally chill dude who I was pleased to meet. The three of us very quickly settled into a comfortable banter born out of awkwardness and anxious excitement at what was ahead of us that evening. Ken ran us thought the structure of the show and then sequestered us in a small space just outside the main playing space at TTOK before inviting the audience to take their seats.
When the time came, we were welcomed out into the theatre one by one by our wickedly funny host, Dan Smith, who introduced us to the audience with short bios we were asked to submit before the show. Writing a bio for The Dating Game was a challenge - it was like filling out an online dating profile but with so much self-applied pressure to be funny. Like, funny funny. Like, people are going to hear this be read aloud, funny.
I think I did ok:
Our next contestant used to book entertainers and educational seminar leaders
for a Sex convention (where she also playfully demonstrated
bondage and flogging equipment on attendees).
But now a days, her day job is a lot more tame.
She spends her Monday to Friday chatting with travel agents
and arranging VIP services for celebrities such as
Hugh Jackman, Mario Batali, and Slash.
On the weekends, when she’s not trying to write the
next great Canadian musical
or snuggling with the love of her life — her cat — she is hard at work
launching a dating website for Queer women. #DoYouKnowEllen?
Not bad, right?
The Game was comprised of two rounds of predetermined questions, the answers to which were both innocent and filled with innuendo. We were asked things like, if we could climb up our family tree and be re-incarnated as a member of our family, who would it be/why? If we would travel back to any era in history, which would it be/why? What was our most embarrassing moment?
My favourite question to answer definitely got me the most laughs of any of my answers that night, which is honestly the most powerful performance-enhancing drug in the world.
In your opinion, what would be the most satisfying way to destroy a Tickle-Me Elmo?
I announced to the audience that I was a little scared how quickly my answer came to mind before asking whether anyone had seen the film Fargo. My answer? Wood-chipper. And it would be most the satisfying because Elmo would be laughing the whole time. In round three, the Lady of the Evening got to ask each of us a question of her own devising. And they were good. Based on my bio, and perhaps a few of my answers, the Lady of the Evening asked me what B.D.S.M. stood for.
In that moment, I would have loved to be able to go back and revise my answer to the embarrassing moment question. Given my employment history, I knew in my bones 3/4 of the words in the acronym. But in that moment, I was totally stumped on the “D”. Thankfully, the audience knew and chanted it to me almost in perfect unison… At long last it was time for our Bachelorette to make her decision. While she weighted her options, our host polled the audience via applause-o-meter whom they thought she should choose and I’m pretty sure I got the loudest cheer. In the end, Contestant number two was the lucky winner of a date — and I mean real date: dinner at The Food Forest followed by drinks at The Sapphire Room. We closed the show with it’s signature kiss blown to the audience and that was that.
I had a few audience members come up to me afterward to tell me that they had been rooting rooting for me, that they would have chosen me and that I am very date-able (aww, shucks!) but that they didn’t know is that shortly after our bios were read, the Bachelorette and I realized that we already knew each other. Not only that, we’ve been friends for quite some time now. Em is the first person I approached to work on this site with me, back when I had only just started fleshing out the idea. (Side note: I am very much looking forward to sharing what she’s got cooking for the site). When I played offended that she didn’t choose me, just so we could go on an epic friend-date, she explained her decision logically: we’re already friends, so she can ask me out whenever she wants! It can be tough to meet new queer girls in this city, I would have done the same thing were I in her shoes. Besides, I still felt like a winner that night. Not only because I had a great time, shared some laughs and an all-round fantastic experience with all who were present, Em and I ended up grabbing dinner and drinks after the show. It was nice to spend some time reliving our favourite moments from the night and just catching up with each other. It’s so rare, I find, to make platonic queer lady friends in this day and age, but I am so grateful to have that in Em. Plus, she’s a total babe!
Wait. I said platonic, didn’t I? …
Wondering how their first date went? Stay tuned to the #DoYouKnowEllen? blog for a follow-up from Em and Lindsay!
P.S. You can find CrackerJack Theatre and The Sapphire Room on Facebook - and you should because they're both excellent.