“Matinée”: Going Downstage on Alicia Whitsover
As you well know, I am an accomplished and versatile actor. Who can forget my provocative and nuanced performances in “Jack’s Playground 27,” “Cuckold 2,” Belladonna’s “OddJobs 3,” or “Oh No! There’s A Negro in My Daughter! 2“?
But I have always loved the theatre and, since there are no good roles for white males, I am happy to sit in an audience and get my proscenium on.
I recently watched director Jennifer Lyon Bell’s excellent short film “Matinée,” (review below) about a pair of stage actors working on their Process, and talked with Bell and her star, Alicia Whitsover.
Gram Ponante: Two actors in an Amsterdam theatre are dealing with a bad review, and I’m wondering if the way you had them work on their “chemistry” is actually legal in Amsterdam. Did you shoot it there?
Jennifer Lyon Bell: We shot this movie on location at a real theater in Amsterdam. Live theater thrives in Amsterdam culture. It’s not as developed as in England, but it’s certainly important here, so it is a bit of a Mecca. There are a fair number of international artists and actors here in Amsterdam, so it’s a good place in Western Europe to shoot in English. The main cast included actors and actresses from the USA and Canada as well as the Netherlands, England, and Scotland.
GP: This is a porn film about stage actors. Could it be a stage play?
JLB: I’m pretty sure so. We have live sex theaters here in the Red Light District, where you see absolutely everything. (But I’m going to check the zoning laws on this!)
British actor Alicia Whitsover plays Mariah. We get the impression that Mariah is her own biggest obstacle to coming into her own as an actor. So she takes matters into her own hands at the 2:00 matinée.
GP: Theatre people get naked on stage all the time. In fact, many have to be told not to get naked. But in the theatre we often feel we are among friends. Was nudity for the camera different for you?
Alicia Whitsover: I don’t think it can be explained in a comparative way. It wasn’t really about nudity or not. It was about it being full real sex which obviously brought up very different feelings and questions.
GP: And one of those feelings is familiar to discerning porn consumers: you said “fuck” like a pro. Porn actresses are coached to say the word “fuck” in sex scenes, but am I right in saying that yours was natural?
AW: Yes, you’re right, totally natural.
GP: Perhaps you have seen my visionary work in “My Daughter Is Fucking A Negro.” No? Well, regardless, even though my character was only scene on a couch as his daughter fucked a negro, I created a whole world of context and motivations for him. I knew what he’d had for breakfast and I knew what he was going to buy at Ralph’s that evening. In the world pof Mariah, what would she tell her spouse/partner after coming home from the theatre that evening?
AW: If Mariah had had a partner at the time I think how she handled her decision and explanation would very much depend on the relationship she had with her partner. Whether it was open/non monogamous/polyamourous or monogamous or otherwise. Depending on the jealousy issues in the relationship, she would have considered all these before making such a decision. Life as an actress can often involve very close contact and love scenes with ‘pretend’ sex anyway.
(portions of the following review previously appeared on Fleshbot)
Mariah might have just needed to get laid. For her art. And, because the best theatre holds a mirror to ourselves, we might need to do the same. That is what Jennifer Lyon Bell’s “Matinée” meant to me, anyway.
Bell, an American expat living in Amsterdam, would have been right at home with the ancient (1970s) pornographers like Gerard Damiano and Jackie Treehorn. Her “Matinée” is a high-concept and beautifully shot interlude about feelings and the artist’s process.
Mariah (the beautiful and bright-eyed Alicia Whitsover) is an actress in a funk. Why? Because, the innocent thing, she believes her bad reviews. But she decides that at that afternoon’s 2 o’clock matinée she will finally do something to create real chemistry between herself and her scene partner, the dreamy Scots actor Daniel (Steven McAlistair).
Yes, the two of them fuck onstage, but it is the leadup and execution that make “Matinée” more than a porn scene. When Mariah says “Fuck,” for example, you know that it’s coming from her instrument.
- Buy “Matinée” here
Previously on Porn Valley Observed: Turn It Off! George C. Scott in “Hardcore”; Porn musical to give popshots a voice; April Flores – an evening at the theatre; Why I love the theatre
See also: Blue Artichoke Films