Playwright Ashleigh Harvey told us about what inspired her new play, The Dead Tinder Society. We’re so excited to see it – read what she had to say about it here!
I wrote a stage play years ago when I was in university. It was very dark and sad and full of 20-year-old angst, and I never really felt like it was ready to be staged. I should go back to it and see if there’s any mileage I can get out of it. It was also about love and relationships, funnily enough. I guess the human condition is such that we are just perpetually stumped by those two things – love and relationships. Then I wrote another stage play three years later, after I’d performed in Neil LaBute’s Bash. It was darker than dark (also about relationships – but this time within families). And I knew no one would stage it. So, I turned it into a radio play and it was aired on SAfm.
Then the lovely, beautiful people at VR Theatrical (with whom I’d worked in Avenue Q) asked me to write a comedy about dating and Tinder. So I did. Much lighter than the first two pieces I wrote, it is a comedy that explores the post-divorce life of Jody – children and all.
I actually joined Tinder to do research for this project. I wanted to see what the profiles were like and how it all worked. I’ve never been an active app-dater, so I needed the experience. It was really interesting. I saw a lot of really funny stuff. I saw some very boundary-breaking stuff. There are a lot of married people out there looking for affairs. There were some lovely, quirky, fun profiles. Some profiles were touchingly authentic. I think Tinder is a really complicated space. I think we don’t really connect all that well, us humans. We struggle to bond. I don’t know why that is. And Jody runs the gamut in trying to find that connection – Springboks, BDSM lovers, tantric sex practitioners, mafia members, the works.
Anyway, I digress. I based this play on a true story. I met a really fascinating woman through a friend, who went through almost exactly this experience. I think tons of people are going through this, actually. So, all the Tinder/dating stories in the play are entirely true. I also wanted to make sure that the play held Jody in a very empathetic way. Women in their thirties who are dating (my friends, and yours) commit a huge act of vulnerability when they put themselves out there – so it was really important to me that we laugh with them, and not at them.
Enjoy! And see if you recognise any of your Tinder crushes when you watch the play. Because they’re all 100% real.
All. Of. Them.
The Dead Tinder Society is on at the Studio Theatre at Montecasino from 25 July to 25 August. Tickets are available from Pieter Toerien Productions website and Computicket.