Date* Real Online Love Affairs (Off the Record) is a new show playing at the Long Center in the Rollins Studio theatre through the 8th. It’s a one woman show set on a piece of carpet where the only two props are wine and a laptop. Luciann Lajoie tells her own personal online dating stories in between previously recorded interviews with real online daters that are projected on to the screen behind her. They don’t necessarily relate to her story in real time per say, however, the use of the footage helps pull together the big picture. What’s the big picture? Online dating is complicated; sometimes it’s worth it and sometimes it’s really, really not.
My trepidation began when I took my seat. First of all, it was held in the Rollins Studio Theatre on the underside of the Long Center. If you have never been, the seats are set up on a bleacher like structure so it’s hollow. This causes every single high heel and big boot to make the most tremendous echoing stomp before, during and after the show. It doesn’t help that the staff allow for late comers. You can imagine the glamazon, having had a few too many cocktails trying to find her seat in the middle of the deep thought our actress is trying to express. Seriously, Austin? Thirty minutes late? Please just stay home.
I must admit that without knowing Lajoie was the creator, producer and star of Date* I thought she wasn’t right for the part. Can you see my surprised eyes when I read the playbill? Is there such a thing to overact yourself? I found the audience laughing more than myself and I had to assume that it was because they were recognizing themselves in her words and the words of the interviewees. Perhaps I was the wrong audience but the whole thing seemed, as my date called it, trite. It felt unfortunate as I have been through, what feels like, every one of those scenarios. I wanted to laugh at myself but I was just reminded why I don’t date online any longer and why I won’t voluntarily see shows at the Rollins again.