Vancouver Fringe Festival 2016 Preview – nerdfucker
Playwright/performer, writer, sex educator, and phone sex operator, Cameryn Moore plans to strike out from the familiar territory of her previous offerings the fondly remembered Phone Whore and slut (r)evolution with her new piece nerdfucker. Showbill.ca’s Matt McLaren chats with her.
Matt McLaren: My last memory you is of you holding an impromptu 50 Shades of Grey drinking game with the Atomic Vaudeville audience in Victoria. But you’ve certainly been busy. Care to give us a sampling of what took place till now?
Cameryn Moore: Let’s see. I’ve created two new works, nerdfucker, which is my Fringe offering this year, and before that The Pretty One, a six-character monologue gallery. Both of these newer plays are fictional, not autobiographical like my first three works, so I’ve definitely been expanding my creative reach.
I’ve also toured in the UK for the past three summers, at fringes and in stand-alone engagements. Part of that was doing Edinburgh Fringe all three years, which has been a real mind-opener and game-changer in terms of how I think about bringing my work to different demographics around the world.
I’ve acted in the film version of Phone Whore, the world premiere is in Montreal this Friday, August 12. Published three more volumes of Sidewalk Smut, expanded the Smut Slam franchise to five cities in North America, created BEDx, a mini-sex conference in a bar, and fallen in love with an Englishman. I’ve been busy, yeah.
MM: So how many of those experiences are going to show up in this piece you’re bringing to Fringe? Or are we going back even further?
CM: nerdfucker is a fictional work, but my character talks a lot about all the nerds she’s loved—she’s a geek for geeks, she gets pretty one-track about these guys. Frankly, over my whole life, 95 percent of my male love interests have been geeks, and some of them have not been so nice, so I have a lot of material to work with.
MM: You know, I when I remember your work in fringes past, I keep associating you with the phrase “adventuress.” Think it’s appropriate label?
CM: I think so. Lately I’ve been digging into relationships as well as sex, and am finding plenty to explore in that area, too. I am finding relationship dynamics to be just as slippery as sexual dynamics, and just as scary, if not more so. We have relationship feelings before we have any other kind of feelings, so when things start to get a little fraught in our relationships, it can feel like the ground is crumbling underneath our feet. This has been my challenge with these two newer plays, mapping the minefields of love and connection even while moving through them. Nerves of steel. You have them or you grow them quickly.
MM: You’re famously not at all afraid to be blunt and bold when discussing your sexuality, or anyone else’s for that matter, but what I’ve appreciated about your work in the past is that it’s never felt exploitative – unlike some offenders – and it’s always gone towards some deeper element of storytelling. How then, is that making a reappearance here?
CM: In nerdfucker, the title word refers more to an orientation—someone who is attracted to nerds–than to a physical act, so already the audience has to go deeper, connecting the dots in my character’s anecdotes and finding some increasingly unsettling threads linking it all together. She won’t name these threads outright, in fact, she’s pretty much tip-toeing around them for most of the play. My task has been to keep her in the dark while giving the audience glimmers of light. My boldness, as you call it, is there in identifying and articulating the relationship issues at stake. This is scary shit, boundaries and trust and exploitation and attraction, and we usually don’t talk about it. It’s not as graphic, but it’s still challenging as hell.
MM: Just so I don’t put you in a box, what other elements storytelling have you been exploring over this period of absence? You’re certainly no stranger to comedy, or a refusal to be sentimental, maybe.
CM: Storytelling as someone other than myself is entirely new. I’m also learning to breathe meaning into awkward pauses (my nerdfucker character is awkward as fuck at points). Finally, a lot of the work that I’ve done, consciously or unconsciously, over the past four years, has been about different ways to bring the viewer right into the moment with me, whether that’s raising the stakes within the first two minutes of nerdfucker, or mingling with audience during the Phone Whore pre-show, or opening a Smut Slam, BAM.
MM: What are you most looking forward to tackling?
CM: I am looking forward to getting reacquainted with fringe-goers, and getting them up to speed on my new expanded sphere of dramatic work. This is quite a change-up for me, so even loyal fans may need to brace themselves.
MM: Why should audiences come and see nerdfucker?
CM: They should see it if they want to get hit with some truth bombs. nerdfucker is a full-on drama – with funny bits – about bad boundaries and relationship dysfunction that most people will be able to identify with, and that recognition is not necessarily a comfortable space. There are already a lot of feel-good offerings on the fringe; nerdfucker goes straight to feel. It is a mirror held up to the terror in our hearts, when we wonder how far we would go, have gone, to be loved.