For some reason, despite the fact that we’re all glued to our phones and screens like an extra limb, and that we communicate with everyone else important in our lives through technology, the idea of meeting a partner online is still slightly taboo. Alyssa Salter of all female theatre company New Match Collective realised how daft this is when she broke off a relationship with a guy she met on Tinder, and ‘realized how awful it is that I felt alone in this experience when at least five of my friends had experienced the same thing.’
It was then, back in June 2015, that she decided to write a show about online dating. Swipe, now performing at the Camden Fringe festival, is an hour long performance of sketches and vignettes exploring dating in the modern world, and how choice can be paralysing, communication confusing, and the whole experience of finding love very much in flux.
‘All the scenarios derive from real experiences, and it contains a lot of my dating trials and triumphs. It’s a very real play that is swimming in the experiences of so many women.’ she says, but it spans the sexes. The tales are drawn from over one hundred interviews with women around the world, and whilst originally intending to be a cast of men and women, in the writing Alyssa realised that she ‘only had a voice for women this time.’ This doesn’t stop it resonating with both sexes though. The small theatre was filled equally with men and women, and the nods and laughter came from both.
Corny chat up lines are nothing new of course, but the ease with which someone can disappear when you only know them from through your phone – ‘ghosting’ they call it; the simplicity of sending a dick pic, wanted or not; the disconnect between the persona you portray on and offline; and the temptation of simply moving on with only a swipe are all very much modern dilemmas.
Love’s not easy. New Match Collective have assembled dating horrors and highs through the lens of technology and modernity to create an hour’s entertainment that’s amusing, entertaining and utterly identifiable.
Running 18th -21st August at The Hen & Chickens Theatre, London, as part of The Camden Fringe. Tickets available here.