A New York Theatre Guide to... #DateMe: An OkCupid Experiment!
Here's all you need to know about Robyn Lynne Norris' musical, immersive, improv, comedy show at the Westside Theatre...
Robyn Lynne Norris is a triple threat. She’s a writer, a comedian and an actress. If you don’t know her name yet, you will. Her first full-length show, #DateMe: An OkCupid Experiment, began its New York City debut engagement at the Westside Theatre on June 20, 2019. If its run there goes anything like its previous iterations as Undateable, the longest-running premium show at Second City Hollywood which ran for 3 ½ years, or its two-act version #DateMe: An OkCupid Experiment, which just completed a 3 year run at Chicago’s Up Comedy Club, her name will soon be on everybody’s radar.
#DateMe: An OkCupid Experiment is not just a show, it’s an experience. And it’s based on the true experiences of its creator, Robyn Lynne Norris, who starred in the production in LA and Chicago. Robyn and a friend created 38 fake profiles of the wildest and most outrageous people they could think up on OKCupid to see if there was anyone who was undateable. The show uses the actual profile names and responses they got verbatim to illustrate the results of their experiment. But not the photos.
#DateMe: An OkCupid Experiment is part musical, part immersive experience, part improv show. Unlike all other theaters where you’re asked to turn off your cell phones, when you take your seat at this one, you’re encouraged to sign into the show’s website and create a profile and profile name, snap a selfie and upload it. And it will become part of the show.
Like all good writers and storytellers, Robyn has used what she knows in creating this show. In this case, it’s her experience with online dating and the enormous amount of research she did as a result. The show she has created uses verbatim the actual profile names and responses she got from her postings.
We caught up briefly with Ms. Norris to get the low-down…
So, I understand that you created the first profile to get on and see a friend's profile?
That is correct. My friend Maureen wanted advice. I made the CrazyCatLady. Three days later I was with my friends and I happened to get back on my OKCupid app, and oh my God, there are hundreds of messages and all these guys talking in “meows.” And what really happened? I was at a very low point and I thought, ‘this person is more popular than I am! I'm undateable.’ I happened to be working on stuff with my good friend Bob Ladewig and I put the experiment idea to him. What if we do this experiment?
When you decided to do the experiment, did you have in the back of your mind that this could be something you could use in your work?
I don't think we knew what it would be. Of course, I saw there's a comedic potential in that. But I think in terms of the spiral that I went on, because I really got involved, I was writing every person back, I was starting to worry about people…I don't think I had any clue that I was going down that journey and that it would turn into what it was going to turn into. I think I thought, “Oh, we'll just do this experiment, see what happens and maybe we'll do a staged reading or something.” And it just spiralled into what it is now.
What it is now is hysterically funny and an astonishing look at online dating today. Her research is very thorough and some of the characters are scientists who amaze with facts and figures. It’s also full of interesting titbits she came across. Like the single word you can use in your profile that will increase your responses by 144%? Nah, ah, ah…you’re going to go see it to find out. But I promise you that won’t be a hardship. By the way – it’s a perfect date night activity!
#DateMe: An OkCupid Experiment Tickets are available now.
(Photos by Jeremy Daniel)