#DateMe: An OkCupid Experiment Takes Comic Aim at Internet Dating Heritage
Robyn Lynne Norris’s free-form satire makes its premiere that is off-Broadway at Westside Theatre.
Take it from the veteran: on the web suuuuucks that are dating. Yes, apps like OkCupid, Tinder, and Hinge reduce in the awkwardness that accompany approaching prospective love passions in individual and achieving to discern a person’s singlehood into the beginning. But placing apart the fact perhaps the many algorithm that is complexn’t constantly anticipate in-person chemistry, forcing potential daters to boil by themselves right down to a self-summary leads people to not merely placed across an idealized form of on their own for general general public usage, but additionally encourages individuals to latch on the most surface-level aspects to quickly see whether someone’s worth pursuing romantically. For ladies especially, online dating sites could even be dangerous, making them available to harassment or even even even worse from toxic males whom feel emboldened because of the privacy associated with online.
Yet, online dating sites remains popular, therefore rendering it a target ripe for satire. Enter #DateMe: An OkCupid Test. Conceived by Robyn Lynne Norris, whom cowrote the show with Bob Ladewig and Frank Caeti, and located in component on the very very very own experiences, the task is simply an extended sketch-comedy show, featuring musical figures, improvisatory sections with market involvement, and interactive elements (the show features its own OkCupid-like software that everybody is encouraged to install and create pages on prior to the show). Rather than a plot, there is a character arc of kinds: Robyn (played in this off-Broadway premiere by Kaitlyn Ebony), finding by by herself obligated to test OkCupid the very first time, chooses to see just what is best suited in the software by producing 38 fake pages. If that appears overzealous, several of her guidelines — including never ever fulfilling some of the people she converses with online — declare that this alleged test has been made to fail through the outset. The cynicism and despair underlying Robyn’s overelaborate ruse is periodically recognized through the entire show, with items of pathos concerning tips of a troubled romantic past and recommendations that she’s got difficulty making deep connections with individuals in basic peeking through the laughs.
When it comes to many part, however, #DateMe is content to steadfastly keep up a frothy tone while doling down its insights.
Robyn’s findings of seeing lots of the exact same expressions and character characteristics on pages result in faux-educational sections when the remaining portion of the cast that is eight-member donning white lab coats (Vanessa Leuck designed the colorfully varied costumes), break people on to groups. Perhaps the creepiest of communications Robyn gets on OkCupid are turned into cathartically amusing songs (compiled by Sam Davis, with words by Norris, Caeti, Ladewig, and Amanda Blake Davis). And in case such a thing, the two improvisatory segments — one in that your performers speculate how a very first date between two solitary market people would get predicated on their pages and reactions for their concerns, one other a dramatization of a gathering user’s worst very very very first date — turn into the comic shows of this show (or at the least, these were in the performance we went to).
It really assists that the cast — which, as well as Ebony, includes Chris Alvarado, Jonathan Gregg, Eric Lockley, Megan Sikora, Liz Wisan, Jillian Gottlieb, and Jonathan Wagner — are highly spirited and game. Lorin Latarro emphasizes a feeling of playfulness inside her way and choreography, specially with a collection, created by David L. Arsenault, that mixes the aesthetic of living spaces and game programs; and projections by Sam Hains that infuse the show utilizing the appropriate sense of multimedia overload.
#DateMe is really so entertaining within the minute that just afterwards are you aware just exactly how shallow its view of online dating sites in fact is. Today for this viewer at least, it was disappointing to notice the show’s blind spot when it comes to race and how discrimination still plays out on dating apps. As well as on a wider degree, the show does not link the increase of dating apps towards the predominance of social networking most importantly, motivating a change more toward immediate satisfaction than in-depth connection. Similar to associated with very first times dating apps are going to give you on, #DateMe: An OkCupid test provides a completely enjoyable break without making you with much to remember after it really is over.