Matinee 2009 (short film)



Two theatre actors have been struggling with a scene in the play they’re in. Before the matinee performance Daniel (Steven McAlistair—NOT Alan Cumming) goes to talk to his co-star Mariah (Alicia Whitsover) about ‘art’ and ‘truth’ or something.

He tries reblocking—changing the way they move during the scene—without the director’s approval or even anyone else present and she blanches. As well she should, he was getting a little handsy and pushy and coercive when she was clearly uncomfortable. RED, asshole.

It’s time to get ready for the show, though, and he goes away, leaving her to think about authenticity in art or some such nonsense you’d expect in a porn set up for sex.

While she’s backstage another co-star—female this time—comes over and talks about how he’s a big soap opera star and how when talent scouts watch him they’ve also noticed his co-stars, too. And there’s a talent scout there to watch him today. Practically screaming: Do something you’re uncomfortable with! Whore yourself for a possible job!

So it’s time for their scene, which is in a bedroom that consists entirely of a bed. They speak two lines then have actual sex in front of an audience. The theatre is small and the seats are right up to the performance area. You couldn’t forget several people were watching you being authentic in your art.

Sometimes when I watch a film from the Wikipedia list of films containing BDSM there’s only one, brief scene. This is the first time where nearly the entire thing (it’s only 34 minutes long) qualifies. In this particular film the fetishes on display are exhibitionism and voyeurism.

If you’re not into either of those things this is not the film for you.

It’s actual sex. Actual, real life, vanilla, hetero sex. But to keep it classy and not full-on porny, the oral sex parts are very brief and not brilliantly lit like an airport runway at night. Male-on-female oral is looking down her body (oh, he’s in there, though) and female-on-male is with a condom and over in a few seconds.

They then do some missionary, girl on top and more missionary. Also realistically lit and in a normal amount of time—it’s not marathon fucking.

I was watching this with Joan and she said some of the theatre-goers had to be thinking: This really isn’t what I thought I’d be seeing today.
My thought was: I really wish I hadn’t brought mom out to the theatre with me.

The point of the short film was that two actual actors were going to have actual sex in a non-pornographic film. It’s pretty clear from the flimsy set up and slightly better than porn dialogue and acting.

The lack of negotiation and pressure it seemed Mariah was under to do something that wasn’t fully her idea put me off.

I don’t think anyone is going to be watching this one for plot so the good news is, the talent scout that was there for Douchebag MacCloud wanted to meet with her, too! Yay! Someone thinks she’s willing to do full sex for ‘art’. That’s not going to make you feel like a piece of meat. What are we supposed to learn from that? Don’t be so reserved? Hey, girls, cross your boundaries? You could possibly, maybe become an actress?

It’s baffling to me that this was written and directed by a woman (Jennifer Lyon Bell). Some people may think of this sort of thing as ‘brave’ but I can’t say I do in this context. The guy comes across as smarmy and rapey and the woman, though she initiates the sexual encounter, is being pressured from more than one side. If you’re a naturally reserved person, that’s fine. Be you.

Normally I wouldn’t post something I thought so little of, but if you’re into exhibitionism or voyeurism you will probably want to check this out and I wanted to be sure that those folks were aware of this one, but this isn’t the sort of film that can be enjoyed on many levels by all sorts of people.

From a voyeuristic side I can certainly see how the idea of being forced to go to a boring as hell play became much more interesting when one couple very clearly had sex right in front of you. And to think, you’d complained because your mate got front row seats and you couldn’t sleep through it.

From the exhibitionist side, the entire concept of, ‘I’m just not feeling the truth of these characters,’ works if you’re both playing the sorts of actors who are always looking for authenticity. The seats in this performance area are right up so you’d be fully on display, though you’d probably want better lighting.


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