On the Couch with Jake Matricardi

Jake-Matricardi-photo-by-Sarah-ClarkeWho is Jake Matricardi?
I’m basically just a very queer, grown-up theatre kid at heart living on Wurundjeri land. I grew up in country Victoria where I started doing amateur musicals, and eight years ago moved to the city for uni and my acting training and now here we are, hustling my way through the independent theatre scene! I’m very ambitious so I also sing, write, and perform in drag as Lilium. I used to be very like Callum in The Shy Manifesto when I was a teen, but I like to think I’ve grown quite a lot since then! Outside of that (because it’s dangerous to solely use your career to define your identity!) I’m a vegetarian who likes video games, cartoons, pizza, long romantic walks with myself by the river, and saying “lol” out loud in normal conversation.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
I would like to be more chill, embrace the chaos of the creative process, and be kinder to myself when things don’t go as planned.

Who inspires you and why?
Firstly I’d cite my friends in the independent theatre and drag scenes as a huge source of inspiration, because they’re in my immediate circle and their talent and achievements make me feel like I can do the same. Actors who inspire me are Timothee Chalamet, Ben Platt (the Dear Evan Hansen OBC is the reason I started singing lessons), and Robin Williams because I find them relatable and I’m drawn to their warmth and vulnerability. I also look up to performance artists from a range of mediums who challenge convention, march to the beat of their own drum, giving us permission to do the same. These are people like Björk, Regina Spektor, Dorian Electra, and Sasha Velour.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
If I had that Thanos glove thing (I didn’t watch that movie I dunno what it’s called), I’d snap my fingers and remove the social stigma surrounding mental health and queerness. I try to be frank about my struggles with both of these things because they’re hard enough to navigate on their own without the extra layers of shame associated with “not fitting in” piled on top of it. There’s so many things we just don’t talk about for no reason – just talk about it y’all.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I don’t have a single favourite – I get bored easily so if I’ve already been somewhere, I usually want to try somewhere else I’ve never been before next time.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I’d take them to a show at Malthouse or some smaller independent theatre like The Butterfly Club or La Mama or Theatreworks. Because I like to share the thing I love most, and want to show people that there is so much more to the theatre world than the big commercial musicals (which are also great, don’t get me wrong).

What are you currently reading?
I don’t read as often as I’d like because my ADHD makes it difficult if it’s not REALLY compelling. But at the moment I’ve been enjoying The Trial by Franz Kafka. Absurd, slightly fantastical parodies of bureaucracy are apparently up my alley.

What are you currently listening to?
I’m loving this podcast from the UK called Kill James Bond – it’s hosted by three hilarious trans ladies who watch all of the James Bond movies and expose how racist, sexist and horrid they are for the most part. It’s very validating as when I was younger I tried to force myself into liking James Bond movies because I thought it was a “manly” thing I was supposed to be into – but I just couldn’t stand them.

Happiness is?
Here’s where I risk the cringe, but here’s my take. Happiness is not a destination. As a culture, we’ve internalised this idea that we have to keep pushing through life until we reach this end goal where we can say “ok yes now I’m happy forever” – that’s a really destructive myth that I’m still struggling to unlearn. I’d say that happiness is instead appreciating the present moment, connecting with like-minded people, and working on something creative that challenges and fulfils you, even if you don’t identify as an “artist”. Also good food, because I’m Italian.

What does the future hold for you?
Hopefully a professional acting career! I want to keep performing in bigger and better theatre shows, and I’d also love to produce and tour my own work. I also love doing drag because it allows me to nourish and express a wilder and weirder side of myself that I’m not usually able to. I hope my future consists of a messy amalgamation of all these things – and getting paid for it!!

Jake stars as Callum in The Shy Manifesto – which will be presented at the Bluestone Church Arts Space, as part of the 2022 Midsumma Festival: 1 – 5 February. For more information, visit: www.midsumma.org.au for details

Image: Jake Matricardi – photo by Sarah Clarke