Now that we’re all totally over Valentine’s Day, you may be thinking that it’s a good time to bring up the old “fertility talk” with your significant other. In fact, maybe there are a lot of things you’ve wanted to talk about – how likely is your partner to survive in a post-apocalyptic landscape? How good are they at foraging? Do you “love” each other? If these are the things on your mind – or even if they aren’t – the very intimate Brick Theater‘s run of futuristic performance piece “Future Mate” about those very topics is a perfect time to confront whether your relationship could survive them. Or just find the love assigned to you.
The play is set in a vague dystopian future, when the landscape has been flattened (or for poor Kansas, according to the hosts, “more flattened”), half of the population has died and a cheerful totalitarian government has stepped in to stamp out subversives and get everyone busy making babies. I’m not exaggerating. “FutureMate” probably has the oddest description for a performance that I’ve ever attended, but it was great.
That’s where hosts Matt (Brian Fountain) and Pam (Gyda Arber) come in; acting as a government-run dating service that sets up participants on dates. While normally I don’t love being set up on speed dates in front of a live audience (OK, or ever) I didn’t mind in this case; as everyone was being made to do the same thing. At random, Matt and Pam called volunteers to come up on the stage — some in pairs, and later, everyone together — to go on a mock date. Later, a computer program matched people in the audience up and we all had to call each other up on the phone.
Fortunately, no one seemed to be struggling too much with the concept of futuristic role-play, as we forgot to be shy and got busy playing Twister in the middle of the stage. We also were able to adapt to the pick-up lines we were fed; some of which weren’t so bad (“I find you extremely attractive under the circumstances”) and I’ll probably find a good moment to use them again.
The play isn’t explicitly a parody of online dating, but it does make you think about it (if Her didn’t make you anxious enough). For instance: is being screened for compatibility with the question “Have you recently looked a dog in the eyes?” so different from OK Cupid algorithms asking you if you can “run a mile without stopping?” Well, is it?
Regardless, the theme of love and connection underscores the piece in a fun and engaging way, and I highly recommend it. Tickets are $20 and the show runs the runs through March 1. And if your date doesn’t want to talk about foraging, this IS a show about dating – maybe you’ll find someone else who will.
Follow Sarah for updates on her futuristic dating life at @eddy_sarah