Friday, 23 June 2017

DramaturgyFucker: Cameryn Moore @ Edfringe 2017


An ode to geek love. A testament to passion. Everything is ready, right down to the polished pawns, but when one wrong move changes the game, a single-minded misfit faces a choice that could change her life. From the award-winning creator of Phone Whore comes this gripping new one-woman play that dives deep into obsession and will leave you breathless.

Solo playwright/performer Cameryn Moore returns to Edinburgh Fringe with nerdfucker, her newest critically acclaimed play. Set after hours at a geek convention, nerdfucker is an unexpected tale of awkward passion, which is all the more wrenching for being so recognizable. 

Audiences can look for sympathetic laughs and loads of cultural commentary amid the rapid unwinding of a woman on the edge of a troubling truth.

  nerdfucker will be at Sweet Grassmarket 4 (Venue 18) from Aug 3-27 (not  14th or 21st) at 19:00 (1hr) with tickets priced at £9. 

What was the inspiration for this performance?

To be honest, nerdfucker emerged after I had written myself into a corner with a rom-com two-hander (1) I was experimenting on (2), and it was horrible (3). I knew I was going to trash the draft of the script, but I still felt there was something in there, and in desperation I took one of the more out-there premises of one of the characters—when asked what the weirdest thing was that she had ever done as a sex worker, she said, “I was a human chessboard once”—and I just… tilted it:What woman would be a human chessboard for free? 

What would she be getting out of that, if not money? What kind of situation would she have to be in? What would her background be? Where would the tension lie? When I followed that path, then I found this play, and I am so fucking proud of it, and grateful to it, that it hurts. Not a two-hander, not a rom-com, something else entirely that people don’t really expect.

Lesson 1: I can’t write straight-up comedy.
Lesson 2: I don’t have to take other artists’ challenges, especially if they’ve been drinking.
Lesson 3: Kill your darlings as needed.
credit: Tristan A. Brand

Is performance still a good space for the public discussion of ideas? 

Oh, yes! This is the place where the artists can present ideas as visceral, in-the-now moments, bypassing the exposition of discussion and going straight for those live-wire leaps in thought and feeling. 

How did you become interested in making performance?

I first started creating works for plus-sized dancers 16 years ago, because I had started dancing myself and was tired of feeling completely left out of the creative and performance part of the dance world. Over the course of 10 years, my works went into more narrative-driven pieces—dance musicals with a plot—and at the same time I began working as a phone-sex operator, and found myself wanting to write a solo play about that, because again, my experience as an actual sex worker was not really represented well out there in the performance world. 

When I toured Phone Whore and found that people wanted to hear what I had to say, and that I was good at it, a whole new world opened up. Part of my internal pressure to create my own works is that if I didn’t, there would be nothing for me to perform in, as a fat person. The roles allowed to us are limited and boring. I create the works and the characters that represent me, in some way, and what I want to see out in the world.

Is there any particular approach to the making of the show?

Once I understood the title character’s character, I took her into a defining moment, a situation that would possibly be one of her nightmares, and then followed her responses to the situation as it unfolded further. I had to be really clear about what the inside of her head and heart felt like, which was a challenge, because she’s a lot like what I was 10 years ago, 30 years ago. It wasn’t easy to excavate that, but once I was in it, I was in, and just had to stay there to write out what she would do or say.

Does the show fit with your usual productions?

Most of my shows so far—the ones that I’ve toured the most—have been autobiographical. nerdfucker is a fictional work (though heavily grounded in my experiences as a nerdfucker). That is significant, at least in terms of my experience of creating this show, but the audience wouldn’t know it, I don’t think. 

The part where nerdfucker really fits is how it brings the audience immediately and intimately into the world of the play; they have a role, even if they don’t know it walking in. It’s not interactive, in the traditional sense of the word, but it feels immersive. This is something that nerdfucker shares strongly with my most known work, Phone Whore: you’re not in the theatre, you’re in my emotional world.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

I want the audience to feel a real empathy for the protagonist. She’s not a hero, she really is just doing the best she can. And I want the audience walking out of there, mentally reviewing every relationship they’ve ever been in and wondering, did I do that? Did someone else do that? What does that mean about me, or them, if we did?

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

 No fourth wall: the nerdfucker and the audience are in direct and frequent contact. Initially I set it up that way in order to layer on the tension for the protagonist, but it ends up making the situation very compelling for the audience as well.

As well as being a playwright/performer, Cameryn Moore is a writer, sex educator, and former phone sex operator. She has received awards at fringe festivals in Vancouver, San Francisco, Victoria (BC), Winnipeg, and Houston, and is bringing nerdfucker to Fringe festivals across the UK and Europe this year. Cameryn is the creator and frequent host of Smut Slam, a storytelling open mic night featuring real-life, first-person sex stories. She founded the UK Smut Slam circuit in January of this year, and will also be presenting a one-hour cabaret version of the Smut Slam throughout the Edinburgh Fringe.

WINNER, ARTISTIC RISK AWARD – 2016 Vancouver Fringe

Cameryn’s 2017 North American tour is supported by njoy toys and The Slutcracker (Boston). Her company, Little Black Book Productions, is a fiscally sponsored project of the International Sex Workers Foundation for Arts, Culture, and Education.

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