THE dating game is a minefield, despite the advent of the internet and the default anonymity it provides when seeking romance.
While the highs and lows might make for a nausea-inducing rollercoaster at the time, they also make for some entertaining anecdotes further down the track, as RU4ME writer-performer Annie Byron has discovered.
"The idea came initially from a friend of mine who was doing net dating, and she'd tell me about her misadventures, so I kept saying, 'You should write it all down'," Byron recalled.
The friend didn't end up doing so, but Byron began to compile her own first-hand stories after diving into the world of online dating herself.
Her plans to document the online dating scene had, unbeknownst to Byron, already been done by Melbourne author Andee Jones, in her book Kissing Frogs.
"I found her book funny and insightful, so it seemed silly to try and reinvent the wheel," Byron said.
Accordingly, she set out adapting Kissing Frogs for the stage, and the result is RU4ME.
Directed by Wayne Harrison, the one-woman show tells the story of middle-aged Connie and her online quest for love - elusive though it sometimes seems to be. Despite a 30-year career in stage and screen acting, Byron had never tried her hand at writing before.
"Writing something yourself, even if it's just adapting a work, is very different," she said.
Byron said she hadn't experienced anything too terrible from her brief foray into internet dating, save for the odd no-show. Even so, she sympathised with the trials of RU4ME's hapless protagonist.
"One of the things the character in the play says, she wonders if she's made of what it takes [to date online]," Byron said.
"There's a sense of putting yourself out there, and dealing with feelings of rejection.
"But I'm an actor, so I'm used to that, it's a professional hazard," she added with a laugh. The play had required a degree of tinkering during rehearsals, including some character changes, before it set out on its current tour of NSW.
"That's the great opportunity of revisiting work, you can pick up and learn from first experience and add to it," she said.
n RU4ME runs at The Q from Wednesday, September 11 to Saturday, September 14. Standard adult tickets cost $39. For details, or to make a booking, visit www.theq.net.au or phone 6285 6290.