Mattie McLeod seems to be the typical 24 year old, studying a bachelor of Film and Television at the VCA and in constant post-traumatic turmoil over her previous Tinder flings. Yet unlike most, she is also the writer of a new Australian musical comedy, Tinder Tales, premiering this month at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Recently, I sat down with her to discuss all things ‘Tinder Tales’.
O: Firstly, give us a brief overview of the show’s storyline
M: So the show is set inside the protagonist, Abby’s head and basically is about her going on Tinder and finding a guy she likes. But then her insecurities and doubts cause her to see flaws in this potential relationship before it has even started and thus causes her to sort of self sabotage it all.
O: So why Tinder as the focus of your writing?
M: It started when I was house sitting and I’d just downloaded Tinder, so I started writing songs that were kind of Tinder based. One was called ‘Netflix and Chill’ and the other ‘Tinder’s Elite’,so I thought “oh, looks like there’s a theme here”. Then I dated this guy I met on Tinder, and in hindsight I realised that I was making our relationship form the trajectory of the show. Well not exactly, but there were definitely themes where it all went to shit and I was like “I think I wrote this in my notes like two months ago”. I traditionally write romantic comedies and I like the idea of the anti-RomCom, where you deconstruct the tropes that are there and instead you try to put a slice of real life in there.
O: What was your writing process?
M: Yeah, look there’s not really a process. I usually wait for the last, last, deadline and then just lock myself in a room for a month. I came up with the idea two years ago and I’ve been thinking about it on and off since then. It was good though because it meant it had a gestation period I guess. So another year went by and I was kind of like “oh yeah, that was a time, wrote three songs, whatever” but then Tom Bradford (director and composer) suggested applying for UMMTA’s ‘The Workshop’. So we came together and worked on some of the songs, and Tom made them one hundred per cent, no – one thousand times better. Basically I would write songs by literally writing out lyrics, sending them to Tom on a little i-Movie of me singing and he’d deconstruct it and we’d work on it together to create something new.
O: What was it like to watch as your show came to life?
M: It’s fucking stressful. On Easter Sunday we had a run through of the show and I went home afterwards and cried and cried because I just thought, “oh my god, we’ve got 400 people coming to see this thing and it’s a mess and we’ve only got four rehearsals left!” But then we had a rehearsal on the Wednesday and it was really fucking good and I cried tears of joy. So yes, I kind of flip-flop between those two.
O: Did you expect the show to receive as much attention and success as it has?
M: Nah. To have a sold out season is definitely a lot better than we expected. Anne, our producer, said to us “you guys understand we’ll be lucky if we make our money back”. I am pleasantly surprised, but it’s also almost more nerve-wracking having it be so successful. It’s the first draft of the script, it’s a little baby still, so it’s almost more horrendous that everyone that’s coming to see it aren’t just people that love us and will tell us that “you did a great job, you tried so hard”.
O: What are your hopes and dreams for the show in the future?
M: I have no fucking clue. I originally wrote it to make it as a film, but making films is really expensive so I was like “hey doing theatre is expensive but it’s a different kind of expensive”. So who knows, but I doubt we’ll go back to film. We were talking the other day about maybe taking it to the Adelaide Fringe Festival; we just want to get it to more audiences. We might do it at a few more festivals, then write something different and let it die.
So, I’d suggest you take your lonely, lovely selves to go see Tinder Tales, before Mattie does indeed, let it die.
Tinder Tales: A New Australian Musical runs from the 19th-22nd of April at The MC Showroom, as part of the 2018 Melbourne International Comedy Festival.