Noémi Schlosser came all the way to Chicago to get a date. A Belgium native, Schlosser graduated from the Antwerp Drama school of Belgium before founding the “fixed-fluid” collective, Salomee Speelt in 2004. Since then, Schlosser has worked in both traditional and experimental theater and her collective has performed all over the world. But never mind that. Let’s get back to dating. Her show, "DATE ME!" offers an absurd but heartfelt look at the trials and tribulations of just that. Schlosser spoke with Our Town about writing, internet dating and her unusual relationship to Occupy Wall Street.
Our Town You’re hot. Can you really not get a date?
Noémi Schlosser First, thank you, [but] a good date, is hard to find. I’ve been single for more than three years. Some blame it on me traveling so much for my work, but now I’m going to be in Chicago for a year, so my dating status will hopefully change. The winters are terrible here, so I hope to find someone who will keep me warm, anyone?
OT What was the inspiration behind "DATE ME?"
NS In Belgium, where I am from, boys have forgotten how to behave as gentlemen; the whole courting thing got lost. The women have no other option than to become the hunters, as the men are very self absorbed. In our society men tend to be afraid of women who own their own homes, have high-income jobs and are self-sufficient. We kind of don’t need them anymore, but our little hearts miss being loved. To write the show, I dated sixty men in one month, all through an internet dating site (still taboo in Belgium, meeting people online) but 99% of the dates were boring as hell. Or not boring because they were with a crazy guy, a shoe fetishist or someone who had a five year plan as if I was going to marry him after this date.
OT What compelled you to found Salomee Speelt?
NS I just wanted to create my own stuff and strangely enough I had amazing people willing to jump with me, and even more surprising I got grants from cities, governments and private people to do so. By now my company has become such a part of my life, or even more it is my life.
OT You perform in both experimental and traditional shows. Which do you prefer?
NS It depends; with every show you start from scratch. I like to work with mixed media, because the musicians, people who build installations, moviemakers or the guys who come from a graphic background have all have different way to tell a story. When people find a way to build a show together, when we find that common language to tell what we want to share with an audience, that for me is very rewarding.
OT Are you braver as a writer or an actor?
NS I don’t know, I just want to tell things that I think are important. I think most of all I am brave as a young, female, producer. That [requires] guts and that's what I find hardest.
OT You joined Occupy Wall Street to ask for a date. What was that experience like?
NS Occupy Wall Street was just asking for us to come and ask for a date! But Occupy Wall Street was not on Wall Street so when I was preparing for my mini "DATE ME!" flashmob, I couldn't find it! Once we were there people really enjoyed us, we talked, danced, and hung out with the locals. Let's be real here, a democracy does mean a date for everyone, right?
OT Why bring "DATE ME!" to Chicago?
NS Chicago is the city of comedy, so DATE ME!" was meant to come here.
OT What are you looking forward to doing while you’re here?
NS I hope to work with local theater companies, hopefully teach, give some workshops, get a few gigs, write my new one-woman show, find an agent, do some TV, you know be the girl with the accent.
"DATE ME" opens November 11th at Theater Wit.
A writer with an MFA in Creative Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Sarah Terez Rosenblum freelances for a number of web sites and print publications. Her debut novel, “Herself When She’s Missing," is forthcoming from Soft Skull, an imprint of Counterpoint Press. She is also a figure model, Spinning instructor and teacher at Chicago’s StoryStudio. Inevitably one day she will find herself lecturing naked on a spinning bike. She's kind of looking forward to it actually.
IMPORTANT: the official Our Town site doesn't support comments. Join in the conversation by following facebook.com/OurTownBlog.ChicagoSunTimes and Sarah on Twitter: @SarahTerez