Clad in suit tails and a t-shirt, writer/director John Lengsfelder was the wry ringleader of the debut weekend of Blind Date Interactive. Almost more social experiment than film, Lengsfelder’s Blind Date prompted his sold-out Saturday night audience to be agents of change in the lives of a fictional couple, Max and Sydney.
Before the show began, Lengsfelder prefaced the film by mentioning today’s grim divorce rate. “Something about our decision making is not working,” he noted of relationships. “Is our decision making flawed?”
Arming each member of his audience, who were seated in a crescent shape around a lighted stage, with large cards sporting the letters A, B, C, and D, Lengsfelder prompted his viewers to navigate the couple’s first meeting. The audience was given several choices to debate and then vote upon by raising their cards. Blind Date would run uninterrupted for several minutes before being stopped by Lengsfelder, who would present his audience with three or four choices of where to take the date. In his film, the couple — the man an artsy widower, the woman a no-nonsense business woman with a ticking maternal clock — are left to the decision making (flawed or not) of that particular night’s audience.
Throughout the night, Lengsfelder voiced surprise at some of the audiences’ choices, noting if one of the chosen paths had been unpopular the previous night. He worked to engage his viewers, urging his audience — many of whom were seated next to their own significant others — to explain their choices. Much of the audiences’ decisions seemed to be fueled by their need to choose based on what they themselves would realistically do in that situation. If they themselves were faced with a possible argument, or made a comment of the foot-in-mouth variety, what would they do to salvage the date? Others, especially as the film neared its end, chose based on what they thought would be most entertaining to watch.
The dialogue of the film itself was full of quirky nuances, the couples’ conversation flitting between flirty and dramatic. Lengsfelder noted on stage that he squeezed the drama of four or five dates into the one which was shown.
However, with an audience whose decision making can drastically change the film’s outcome for better or worse, the show ultimately seems to be an art piece that explores how the way we decide can either make awkwardness the order of the day, or ignite a life-long affair. Lengsfelder leaves it up to us.