#DateMe: An OkCupid Experiment Takes Comic Aim at Online Dating Sites Heritage

Robyn Lynne Norris’s free-form satire makes its off-Broadway premiere in the Westside Theatre.

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Go from the veteran: on line dating suuuuucks. Yes, apps like OkCupid, Tinder, and Hinge reduce in the awkwardness that is included with approaching possible love passions in individual and achieving to discern somebody’s singlehood within the place that is first. But placing apart the reality that perhaps the many algorithm that is complexn’t constantly anticipate in-person chemistry, forcing potential daters to boil by themselves down seriously to a self-summary leads people to not merely placed across an idealized form of on their own for general general public usage, but in addition encourages visitors to latch on the many surface-level aspects to quickly see whether someone’s worth pursuing romantically. For females especially, online dating sites can also be dangerous, making them available to harassment or even worse from toxic males whom feel emboldened by the privacy associated with Web.

Yet, online dating sites remains popular, hence which makes it a target ripe for satire. Enter #DateMe: an experiment that is okCupid. Conceived by Robyn Lynne Norris, whom cowrote the show with Bob Ladewig and Frank Caeti, and located in component on her behalf very very own experiences, the task is actually a sketch-comedy that is extended, featuring musical figures, improvisatory portions with market involvement, and interactive elements (the show possesses its own OkCupid-like software that every person is encouraged to install and create pages on prior to the show). As opposed to a plot, there is a character arc of kinds: Robyn (played in this premiere that is off-Broadway Kaitlyn Ebony), finding by by by herself forced loveagain randki to try OkCupid the very first time, chooses to see just what is best suited from the software by producing 38 fake pages. If it appears overzealous, a few of her guidelines — including never ever fulfilling some of the individuals 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 components of pathos associated with hints of a troubled past that is romantic recommendations that she’s got difficulty making deep connections with individuals generally speaking peeking through the laughs.

When it comes to part that is most, however, #DateMe is content to steadfastly keep up a frothy tone while doling away its insights

Robyn’s findings of seeing most of the exact exact exact exact same phrases and character faculties on pages result in faux-educational portions where the remaining portion of the cast that is eight-member donning white lab coats (Vanessa Leuck designed the colorfully diverse costumes), break people on to groups. Also the creepiest of communications Robyn gets on OkCupid are turned into cathartically amusing songs (published by Sam Davis, with words by Norris, Caeti, Ladewig, and Amanda Blake Davis). And when any such thing, the two improvisatory segments — one out of that the performers speculate how a very first date between two solitary market people would get predicated on their pages and reactions with their concerns, one other a dramatization of an audience user’s worst very very very very first date — grow to be the comic features associated with show (or at the least, these were in the performance we went to).

It surely 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, particularly 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 feeling that is appropriate of overload.

#DateMe is really so entertaining into the minute that just afterwards are you aware just exactly exactly 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 doesn’t link the increase of dating apps towards the predominance of social media marketing in particular, motivating a change more toward immediate satisfaction than in-depth connection. Similar to associated with very very very first times dating apps will probably give you on, #DateMe: An OkCupid test provides a completely enjoyable break without making you with much to remember after it is over.