Stephanie Henderson explores dating and relationships in the age of smart phones with her new play

Redefining relationship: A speed date with destiny

Theatre play Listen To Me explores dumping the digital persona and allowing for possibility.

Stephanie Henderson spent years as a single woman trying to navigate the dating scene.

For the most part, traditional face-to-face interaction had already morphed into face-to-screen time.

“I have Tinder-swiped, I have blind-dated, I have Events & Adventured and e-Harmonied,” says the Surrey dance teacher. “I mean, theoretically, a bigger pond equals more fish, right?”

It certainly meant more texting, superficial online profiles, occasional profanity, and the realization that the promised ease of connecting with people actually made it harder to do so properly.

“(The screen) was putting more distance between me and the people I was looking to have a relationship with,” Henderson says.

Pondering the experience, with its potential for missed connections and opportunities, Henderson took the idea and went speed dating with it – on stage.

She created the ensemble play called Listen To Me, a presentation of Resounding Scream Theatre, which she co-founded with fellow SFU Contemporary Arts Program grad Catherine Ballachey in 2008.

Henderson describes Listen to Me, which runs the first week of December on Granville Island in Vancouver, as an opportunity to stop hiding behind the digital persona and allow for possibility.

“I wanted to address how unnatural and inauthentic it is to build relationships in this way and take us back to sharing air space instead of screen time.”

In a unique theatrical step, she will take the audience (a maximum of 10 people per show) on an interactive, semi-scripted speed-dating event called “A Social Network.”

The actors and their characters will, within the short time allowed, reveal themselves, their desires and vulnerabilities, and will interact with audience members in as natural a way as possible.

“Our goal as a company at Resounding Scream Theatre is to engage audiences and inspire conversations,” Henderson explains.

That means challenging the audience to participate – to be involved as the “significant other” of the actor across from them.

They’ll be invited to share private parts of their own lives, but only once with each actor, since a bell will ring to send them to the next actor before long.

Each actor will have 10 roles (or relationship “phases”) per night – making for different experiences for repeat audience members.

Eight women and three men were cast for Listen To Me. Ten are “date” actors and one will host the dating event within the play, which Henderson directs.

There will be scripted words, structured improvisation and genuine moments throughout the show, Henderson promises.

Visitors should also expect surprises and broken expectations. A conversation can begin with date-like small talk, but could (and will) suddenly turn on its head, submersed in an existing relationship.

How much an audience member divulges is up to them.

Henderson admits a play like this is not a potential money-maker, but says it’s the kind of thing she and her cohorts went to school for and love to do.

“We don’t put up art that we don’t believe in. If it ends up losing money, at least we know we put our hearts into it.”

And speaking of heart, she met her current boyfriend at a party, not online.

Resounding Scream Theatre’s play, Listen To Me, runs Dec. 2-6 at 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. at Granville Island’s Agro Café, 1363 Railspur Alley. The limit is 10 audience members per show. Tickets are $20 at listentome.brownpapertickets.com (recommended) or at the door.

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP not seeing ‘significant loss’ in ranks because of COVID-19

Surrey Mounties say they have a good tracking system to keep tabs on police officers experiencing an illness

Supreme Court upholds White Rock council decision on Lady Alexandra development

Planned 12-storey highrise on lower Johnston Road was stalled in 2018

No final high school game for Surrey all-stars; six scholarship winners named

COVID-19 forces cancellation of all-star games for boys and girls at Enver Creek gym April 3

‘Potentially life-threatening’ injuries in South Surrey crash

152 Street closed in both directions between Colebrook Road and 40 Avenue

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

John Horgan extends B.C.’s state of emergency for COVID-19

Premier urges everyone to follow Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice

B.C.’s first community COVID-19 death was dentist ‘dedicated’ to health: lawyer

Vincent was 64 when he died on March 22 after attending the Pacific Dental Conference

UPDATE: 6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes B.C. Interior

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout the Okanagan

Two inmates at prison housing Robert Pickton test positive for COVID-19

Correctional Service of Canada did not release any details on the identities of the inmates

BC heart surgery patient rarely leaves home

James Jepson is especially vulnerable to the novel coronavirus

BC SPCA launches matching campaign to help vulnerable animals after big donations

Two BC SPCA donors have offered up to $65,000 in matching donations

Anti-tax group calls for MPs, senators to donate scheduled pay raises to charity

Bill C-30, adopted 15 years ago, mandates the salary and allowance increases each calendar year

Two arrested after man lies about COVID-19 illness to stay in Victoria Airbnb for free

Victoria Police found stolen goods inside the occupied unit

Most Read