I know two couples who found love (and then marriage, kids, the whole shebang) through online dating. They are the only people I
know personally who have tried online dating so judging by their success, my view of online dating is that it’s a pretty darned good idea. The concept of vetting people before you even have to step foot out of your house seems brilliant. Eliminate those who don’t agree with your politics, religion, basic feelings about life and you automatically increase the chances that the two of you will get along – as long as everyone has told the truth, that is.
These are the concepts behind DATE*, playing at Off Center at the Jones, in the DCPA complex. The play was written and performed (and lived) by Luciann Lajoie, who herself tried the world of online dating and pretty much hated it. She turned her disappointment in the process into the play after having interviewed lots and lots of real people who had gone through it too, successfully and not so.
DATE* takes place on a simple set with Lajoie talking to the audience, augmented by the videos that pop up behind her on what is supposed to be the wall of her apartment. The strips of molding on the wall and file cabinet against the wall distort some of the video shots making it annoying to watch. It seems like that could have been, and should have been, worked around prior to the show’s opening.
While Luciann’s performance is good and heart-felt (it had better be since it’s about her personal experiences), there are uncomfortable moments. As she changes for her first date, is it really necessary for her to strip down to her underwear? Was it so necessary to slip in some T & A into this otherwise worthy play? The audience held its collective breath as she stripped down, wondering what we were all in for. The clothing changes ended up being a clever and integral part of the storyline, however, as the most physical evidence of the date after date Lajoie went on in her online quest for love. Should she look artsy for this guy? Conservative for that one? As the parade of dates went on, everything in the play accelerates including her frantic clothing changes, always augmented, unfortunately by popping a pill and washing it down with some white wine. (Really, do drugs and alcohol have to permeate every slice of life for 20-30-somethings? Grow up! Face reality? You can’t escape it so deal with it!)
As much as I was drawn into the emotions, confessions and action of the play, I did want to get out of my seat, march down to the stage, grab her by the shoulders and scream “Stop it! Just stop!” Finding a magnificent love is everyone’s dream whether they want to admit it or not. But come on! At what point do we stop torturing ourselves and just let it go? It IS okay to be single. It is NOT okay to humiliate oneself in the name of love. Be worthy of being alone with yourself and good things will come your way. (By the way, this bit of commentary is coming from someone who dated plenty but has also been married a long, long time.)
As DATE* shows us, even with all the supposed truth-telling, people still lie and misrepresent themselves. But sometimes, you get lucky and meet someone terrific, which, fortunately is the kind of up-note Lajoie leaves us with.
Make a date to see DATE* with your honey to feel very fortunate or, if you’ve been through dating in any form, nod in recognition feeling a little less alone in the world. But isn’t that what it’s all about?