Review: The Binaries Between Us

  • Photo Ocean Derouchie

As my date and I arrived to Studio Porte Bleue, we stood in a nondescript hallway, awaiting some kind of indicator that we could enter the space. “Honestly Ocean, where are we?” she asked me, sizing up our surroundings like it was a matter of life and death. Suddenly, the appropriately described blue door swung open.

The irony of this whole thing didn’t occur to me until I had sat down on one of the few benches decorating the outskirts of the room. Did I just bring my Tinder date to a performance about online dating?

The Binaries Between Us is a short, movement-based performance written and directed by Colin Lalonde. “In some ways you could call it dance theatre”, said Lalonde. “Usually our work is participatory but this is a little less so. It’s definitely designed to be intimate, so that people are kind of up close and right in the action.”

We shuffled into a cozy hallway. Past the curtains, four people stood uniformly. All on their phones, their eyes never swayed from the glow of the screens. I wondered to myself what each person was working on as they stood static. Sounds of varied textones bounced off the walls. Were they actually answering messages? Possibly the epitome of multitasking — could they actually be answering emails and texting while putting on a performance?

If you’ve ever tried online dating, it’s easy to relate to the themes of this show. A question of expectations, The Binaries Between Us sheds light on the realities of our swipe-right culture and how we curate ourselves online.

Lalonde recalls of his own experiences with online dating. “There was this sense of disconnect between me and the person across from me,” he said. Like many, Lalonde explained how he would immediately “turn off” when his date didn’t match up with his preconceptions. “If that preconceived notion didn’t ring true, I would immediately turn off. Which is kind of strange.”

A mixture of written dialogue, narration and online profile verbatim, the show serves to amplify this feeling of strangeness and disconnect; this concept that people are disposable. “I think it’s just that culture and design of Tinder and online dating that leads us to kind of throwing people aside right away based off of first impressions” said Lalonde.

Without a doubt, The Binaries Between Us will remind you of your own mishaps with online dating; those one-time Tinder dates that never went anywhere; that person you were really into who never answered your texts.

But Lalonde says it’s a larger issue of technology and philosophy. “Essentially, we have to change. We need to start viewing this technology as a tool, rather than to just succumb to how it inevitably make us behave…. and I think that’s the interesting crux”

The Binaries Between Us is a quirky show that uncovers our online-dating culture in an accessible, relatable way. My only true complaint is that it wasn’t longer. The short thirty minute-ish performance is quick to catch your attention, but leaves you feeling as if no time has passed.

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