The star of the acclaimed web series “Whatever this is.” is back with an experimental new project that takes an audience participatory look at the world of online dating.
Dylan Marron describes “The Human Symphony,” which opens Jan. 28 at New York’s New Ohio Theatre, as a “modern selection of love stories, or attempts at love stories” set in the world of “Internet dating and meeting people online.”
To be fair, Marron’s soundbite could just as easily describe any number of Hollywood romantic comedies. What sets “The Human Symphony” apart, however, is its viewer-based performativity factor. Instead of employing professional actors for the show, Marron randomly selects six (willing and able) spectators to perform the piece every night.
Much like a silent rave, each participant will guided by stage directions delivered via iPod headphones through through four “movements” which are based on Marron’s interviews with friends and family members (who identified as both gay and straight) and said they’d met dates and significant others on the Internet.
Marron, 26, says his work as an actor, writer and director with The New York Neo-Futurists performance ensemble helped inspire the unconventional dramatic approach he took to “The Human Symphony.” While the script is set, the interpretations of each piece will vary drastically each night, he said. Using audience members chosen at whim, he noted, seemed like the most appropriate choice for a show he’s deemed a “theatricalization of the Internet” that’s structured like a “musical symphony.”
Take a look at Marron performing "A Confession Told in the Structure of Every Taylor Swift Song" from 2012.
“It’s like these love stories are pieces of music, the tasks that the performers are hearing are the notes and they are the instruments who are playing the music, which is the stories,” he said. “I like the idea of people narrating firsthand stories -- you can’t get that out of a [traditional] performance.”
Marron began developing the idea for “The Human Symphony” after witnessing his parents, who separated after 30 years of marriage in 2001, adjust to single life and dating options didn’t exist during their younger years.
His parents’ respective experiences are humorously recounted in “The Human Symphony,” but Marron said the show became even more personal to him as an openly gay performer himself.
“For many gay men, the Internet is the primary way of meeting people, and not just in the sexual or romantic sense,” Marron, who is engaged to boyfriend Todd Clayton, said. “The Internet for queer people has been such a blessing, because it connects you invisibly to other people like you, and you can find a sort of ‘cloud community’ and a sense of solidarity.”
As to the message of the show, he added, “What I really wanted to do is present these stories without judgment. It’s about the universality of these stories.”
Dylan Marron's "The Human Symphony" plays at New York's New Ohio Theatre through Feb. 14. Head here for tickets and more information.