Samantha Ellis’s play How to Date a Feminist is a comedy that riffs on the Hollywood romcom as it explores the difficulties of finding true love amidst the complexities of modern dating etiquette and gender roles. It was first performed at the Arcola Theatre, London, on 6 September 2016.
The play was written to be performed by a cast of two doubling all the parts, although an author's note in the playtext states that it can equally be performed by a cast of six. Kate is a thirty-year-old journalist who, in the opening scene, is surprised to be proposed to by her boyfriend Steve, also thirty, a baker. Steve is a committed feminist (his mother, Morag, instilled feminism in him from an early age, taking him with her to the Greenham Common protests), and his proposal of marriage is accompanied by a clumsy apology on behalf of the patriarchy. Kate, who feels she suffers from a fatal attraction to bad men, is less than enchanted, and the proposal sparks a crisis in their relationship that is only to be resolved through a series of arguments, misunderstandings and infidelities, while the two performers take on a variety of additional roles including Kate and Steve's exes, Steve's mother Morag, and Kate's Israeli father Joe.
The Arcola Theatre premiere was directed by Matthew Lloyd and designed by Carla Goodman, and was performed by Tom Berish and Sarah Daykin. The production was revived at the Arcola in December 2016 for a short additional run with the same cast.