Behind the Blue Door: a fond farewell to Vixen Valentine.
~ Written by Paul O’Connell (POC Photo)
This Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Re-bar is the return of Behind The Blue Door: A Dr. Who-Inspired Cabaret. After last year’s debut in Seattle and a successful five city tour, Midnight Menagerie Productions has revamped its show to celebrate 50 years of Dr. Who. Unlike last year’s production (which mainly focused on the reboot episodes) this show will focus on the entire run of the series. The show’s producer, Vixen Valentine, recently reflected on Dr. Who burlesque:
“I think that Behind The Blue Door is the most important show that I have produced because it helped me to become a better producer, in pushing myself to take the show as far as I could dream to take it and work hard at creating something I’m very proud of. Not to mention being able to work with amazingly talented performers in Seattle who were as enthusiastic about the show as I was, and I met bigger Dr. Who fans than myself who appreciated seeing routines inspired by the same things they love about the show. Of all the shows I’ve produced, this one tapped into a community outside of the normal burlesque crowds and drew people in so we could collectively enjoy something together that created a vibrant atmosphere to be a part of.”
“I’ll admit, I’m a recent Dr. Who fan; I stumbled onto the tv show because it just so happened to be playing on my roommate’s tv one day,” Vixen explained, when asked what it meant to her to bring the show to the burlesque stage. “I sat down and watched ‘Gridlock’ (from season 3 reboot) and I liked it so much I went back and started watching it from the beginning of the reboot. I didn’t know at the time that it was going to play such a large part in my burlesque life and this show might never have happened if I wasn’t approached by a sci/fantasy convention to curate a show, and instantly I knew what I was going to do. Since I started working on the first production of Behind The Blue Door (last year), I immersed myself in the Who-niverse as much as I could in order to do the show justice which included following along with news, reading facts, watching older episodes, familiarizing myself with the Dr. Who groups in Seattle and finding that community.”
Also significant about this year’s Behind the Blue Door is that it marks the last show Vixen Valentine will produce before she heads off to Europe for the next two and a half years to complete her MFA. I asked Vixen what lead to this fantastic opportunity:
“I have been performing since I was a child. I have worked in several theaters in Seattle. I have my Bachelor of Arts in Drama from the University of Washington and my other study abroad program took me to England to study theatre at the University of Hull in Scarborough, England. What inevitably drew me into burlesque is that it’s actor creator work, where I am responsible for creating my own work instead of traditional theatre where I did scene study, memorized lines, etc. I didn’t know what to call the type of theatre I was interested in so I just started googling acting schools from the computer lab in Perugia, Italy [where she was continuing her Italian studies in 2011] and the term physical theatre came up. So I did a little bit of research and I realized that the type of theatre I love is physical theatre, this notion of actor creator work that combines inter-disciplinary skills, like voice, movement, etc in order to tell a story. With my new term in hand I started looking up Master of Fine Arts programs in physical theatre and the Accademia Dell’Arte popped up. There are a myriad of reasons on why I choose this school as opposed to the other MFA programs I found. The first is that it focuses on European theatre that not only takes me to live in Tuscany but I will also study at FLIC circus school in Torino, Familie Floz in Berlin, Germany and Continuo Theatre in the Czech Republic. I will have the opportunity to work alongside other performers who incorporate commedia dell’arte, mask making, puppetry, movement, dance, circus arts, cabaret, etc into their work as I continue to strengthen my own voice as a performer. Secondly, the purpose of the program is to challenge the students to push themselves to obtain a high level of mastery in actor creator work which is a challenge I want. I don’t want to be stagnant in my performing abilities so finding a program that compliments the type of theatre I love that will teach me new skills and push me to be even better at what I love seemed to be a no-brainer to me.”
Vixen has already started contacting producers abroad in the hopes of performing and has bookmarked the different European burlesque festivals to attend. She also assures me she will return to her home town of Seattle. I, for one, will say I am jealous of Vixen’s European adventure. BSP wishes her the best of luck on her experience.
Behind the Blue Door takes place July 26-28 at Re-bar. Tickets available HERE.