BOTTOM LINE: This untraditional theatre experience makes for a fun night of laughter and post-apocalyptic love matches.
If you think dating is hard now, imagine post-apocalyptic dating. After the devastating cataclysm wiped out most of the population, dating is less of a social activity than it is a government re-population initiative. In Futuremate, a bizarre and highly amusing transmedia immersive-theatre experience, you are quickly ushered into this new reality for an inventive, futuristic matchmaking session.
Created by and starring Gyda Arber and Brian Fountain, Futuremate’s 45-minute ‘Meet and Mate’ session is a truly unique theatrical experience that comes to The Brick after winning the first StoryCode StoryHack competition for storytelling across multiple technological platforms. In Futuremate, audience members are actively engaged in the journey to discover their own post-apocalyptic love match. Facilitated by Pam and Matt (Arber and Fountain) -- with brief appearances by other interesting cataclysm survivors and accompanied by a television commercial, a high-tech automated matchmaking phone line, and a communal game of Twister -- Futuremate is quirky and untraditional fun.
For an experience that relies heavily on its multimedia platforms, my Futuremate experience was unfortunately plagued with more than a few technical glitches. An apparent projector failure lead to the Futuremate commercial being presented on a small laptop screen instead of a large white wall, and the Futuremate phone line kept almost every audience member sitting on hold rather than connecting to their matches. These glitches, while surely distracting, were handled gracefully by Arber and Fountain who kept the piece moving swiftly and comically despite these unexpected kinks.
Like many immersive theatre experiences, half the fun of Futuremate comes from observing how audience members react when pushed out of their comfort zones. While some are completely resistant to the participatory invitations (“I’m just here for the play,” said one disagreeable patron), others are happily willing to jump into a surreal world and keep up with Pam and Matt’s quick wit with their own thoughts and musings about their post-apocalyptic lives. By the end of the show, every participant has met a new partner and is likely to have had plenty of laughs throughout the process.
For those with a sense of adventure, Futuremate is a humorous, silly, and creative evening that is best enjoyed with similarly open-minded friends. Far from a traditional theatre experience, Futuremate is a quick, late night activity to be appreciated more for its fun and witty tone than for its technological components. And in case anyone’s curious, my “Love Match” was named Eddie and we shared a good awkward laugh as we discussed our pre- and post-apocalyptic hobbies. He was very nice, but I’m not sure we’ll be repopulating the planet together anytime soon.
(Futuremate plays at The Brick Theatre, 579 Metropolitan Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, through November 23, 2013. Remaining performances are November 16th at 11PM; and November 23rd at 11PM. Tickets are $20 and are available at www.bricktheater.com or by calling OvationTix at 212-352-3101).