What do you do when the guy you’ve been dating turns out to be a total fuckboy? Cry? Eat your body weight in ice cream? Take a deep breath and focus on living your best life? All of the above?
If you’re Savannah Pederson, the answer is write an award-winning musical that celebrates female friendships and not settling for less than you deserve. The American triple-threat has brought her latest work Fuckboys the Musical to Australia for Melbourne Fringe. A one-act musical, Fuckboys features four very different women telling it like it is, and providing some handy tips and cautionary tales to help you navigate the hazardous modern dating world. Savannah kindly took a moment out of setting up for Fringe and exploring a new city to chat to Til Knowles about the power of musicals and strong female friendships.
What’s your definition of a fuckboy?
To me, a fuckboy is just the WORST kind of person. A guy who is so self-absorbed that he doesn’t care who he hurts in the process of making himself feel good. Fuckboys only fool around for the short-term and refuse to settle down. I could go on, but in essence, they’re just terrible.
Fuckboys came about because of your own experience with heart break. What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone currently going through it?
You hear the old cliche that “time heals all wounds” but honestly, it rings true — at least in my case. Writing the show was a big help for me to process the thoughts and emotions I was feeling after the breakup, and it served as a really great outlet for me to just scream and cry and try to articulate these really painful emotions I was experiencing. Believe me, there were points where I didn’t think I’d ever bounce back from this guy who broke my heart, but over time, things have started to hurt less and less.
What led you to write this show as a musical?
There have been so many shows to hit Broadway that really nail Contemporary Musical Theatre. Shows like Dear Evan Hansen, Waitress, and Next to Normal are all shows that inspired me with their honest, emotional storytelling through their music, and it was something I wanted to capture with this show. The whole point of writing a musical versus a play is that, when emotions run too high, you have no choice but to sing them, rather than say them. I think having this show as a musical really adds some poignancy to the story and to the characters, and allows the actors to really dig deep, which in turn allows the audience to connect with them on a deeper level.
What’s your favourite musical and why?
Probably my all-time favorite musical is Next to Normal, which features beautiful, complex contemporary music surrounding a small cast and a powerful storyline. Sometimes when I need a good cry, I’ll look up videos of the show on YouTube and just sob. (Which is often. Come get it, fellas.)
What’s your least favourite romcom and why?
Honestly, I’m not a big fan of rom-coms! I often find the storyline is weak and cheesy and the dialogue is uninteresting. And they’re so predictable! I much prefer psychological thrillers or even sci-fi films.
The show also focuses on female friendship. How have your relationships with women shaped your life? (A broad question I know!)
It is a broad question, but I love this question! Growing up, I was really lucky to surrounded by badass women who weren’t afraid to speak their minds, show up, and get the job DONE. Between my dance teacher, vocal instructor, my grandmother, and my mom, these women really helped shape me to adopt this “take-no-prisoners” attitude when it comes to my work. I’m not afraid to take no for an answer and I will work as hard as I can to achieve my dreams and aspirations.
What’s one thing you hope the men in your audience take away from the show?
The show is NOT meant to bash men in any way, shape, or form. It is really to celebrate women friendships, and just women in general. The four main characters in the show are so fantastically different from each other, but obviously they are all close friends, which is something I really wanted to showcase. It’s totally okay to be yourself, no matter how weird or outlandish or crazy, because the right people will stick by you through thick and thin. I’m very lucky that I’ve been able to surround myself with really amazing friends who encourage me to just be myself, and I hope that audiences can walk away with that same surge of confidence.
After an amazing, critically acclaimed run in the US, what drew you to Melbourne Fringe?
Honestly, Melbourne Fringe was just a happy accident that ended up working out perfectly and really becoming the trip of a lifetime! We knew we wanted to tour the show nationally and eventually internationally, and when this opportunity fell into our laps, we knew there was very little that could stop us from taking advantage of it. I am so thrilled to be here and just really excited for the opportunity to show Melbourne what we’ve got!
What are you most excited about seeing/doing during your time in Melbourne (other than performing in Fuckboys of course!)
We’ve all been really fascinated with the city! There is so much art and culture here and we’ve honestly really enjoyed riding the trams around, seeing something interesting, and getting out there and walking around to see what cool things we find! We’ve had a blast so far, and we can’t wait to perform and see the other shows in Fringe this year!
Fuckboys the Musical is on at the Fringe Hub: Lithuanian Club until 23 September 2018 as part of the Melbourne Fringe. Tickets are available from the Melbourne Fringe website.