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Cameryrn Moore is a phone sex worker with no boundaries and no shame. She’s become skilled at teasing out her callers’ most taboo desires. Come hang out as she works from home, but be warned, what you hear may test your own limits. Can you make it through one hour?
MMM gets Cameryn on the line for a chat.,


What led you to make this particular show?

I wrote Phone Whore because they say “write what you know.” I was a writer whose world had suddenly shrunk to mostly a 12×12 room, a phone, and a lot of strange men and their orgasms. What I knew, and was learning about, was phone sex. So I wrote about that. I was further spurred on by the totally inaccurate representations of phone sex work in pop culture: the videos and movies and TV shows. I wanted to bring a strong dose of reality into the picture.

When you’re doing a show like this, how do you take into account the audience’s boundaries and comfort levels?
Well, the content is what it is; it is a scripted piece of theatre, and many people are challenged by the content. The only thing that I can do is keep track of where the discomfort or distress is coming from, by listening for those noises and also doing a LOT of visual scanning of the audience when I talk to them, and then keep myself even more open to those people. Eye contact, an understanding smile or nod, leaning toward them a bit more… those things are not scripted, they are just part of having a difficult conversation, to show the other person or people that I am present and I understand. The content is challenging, but my character is not. Quite the opposite, I think.

Where does this show sit in your body of work?

It is the first solo play that I wrote, the most-performed one I do, and it is the source for a lot of my beliefs about creating theatre, including fair use of lived experiences and also how I want to relate to and interact with the audience.

What is the most challenging part of performing this show?

Holding silences in the face of the audience’s tenseness. I can feel it in the room, without even looking, and every part of me wants to rush my lines and fill the silence, but I can’t. I still force myself to count the seconds in my head. They need to sit with what is going on, and I need to let them, however awkward and uncomfortable that can be.

Do you like your show? Can you see yourself getting sick of it?

Does anyone ever say they don’t like their show?! Wow, I cannot imagine traveling with a show I don’t like, eeeep! I love my show! Someday I might age out of doing it, but I don’t see getting sick of it.

What’s the weirdest experience you’ve ever had during one of your shows?

The first time that someone answered me, out loud. “That freaked you out, didn’t it?” is what I ask, and it was only meant to acknowledge that yes, what had just happened probably did freak a large percentage of the audience out. But a deep male voice boomed out of the darkness, “YES.” This was the first summer that I toured with Phone Whore, and that guy answering me freaked me out. It was a great wake-up call to the fact that a conversation was happening during the play, even though I hadn’t really realized it up until that point. Once I got really clear on that idea, the play got even better.

You’re appearing as part of Tomás Ford’s The Fxxk Yxu program – how did that relationship come about? Do you know any of the other performers?

Tomas came to see Phone Whore when I presented it in the basement of a pub at the 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Since then we have hung out a bit at festivals in the UK, where he constantly said, I’m bringing Phone Whore to Australia. How can we make that happen? And this year, with The Fxxk Yxu, it finally did. I also know Lisa-Skye from Edinburgh Fringe. Tomas said, you should meet Lisa Skye. And he was 100% right.

How do you feel your work fits into the fringe festival scene usually?

Owing to the content, my work is usually pretty far out on the margins, even in the Fringe world. Something about the way I matter-of-factly talk or perform about sex and sexuality makes my work feel really edgy to many, many people. I’m not sure why that is, and I hate to say it, but I wish it weren’t considered as “edgy” as it is. I think the world would be a slightly better place if more people talked about this shit, and I’m trying to help initiate and facilitate those conversations, in the theatrical and storytelling worlds. I honest to god have no conscious aspirations to be out there on the fringe of the fringe; I’m just telling truth.

When you do shows outside of a fringe festival, how is the experience different?

Oh, god, well… if I’m not receiving a set fee, then the producer really needs to have my back and be working hard on my behalf, because without a fringe you’re dealing with a population that isn’t really awake to the possibilities of live performance. I wouldn’t say that all Fringe audiences are adventurous, in fact, many aren’t, but they are at least already sold on the idea of going to a theatre and seeing SOMETHING that isn’t pre-recorded. That is one major mental obstacle surmounted right there.

One thing that is also different outside a fringe festival, if the promoter is doing their work right, is that I tend to get more theatre audiences, who are drawn by the reviews and the prospect of a contemporary solo dramatic work. In the Fringe, I think I get a higher percentage of audience members who are drawn to the name and the promise of SHOCKING, EDGY, BAM POW. My plays deliver both, in a way, but it’s never what people expect, in or out of Fringe.

Who are the performers that you really identify with?

Other solo performers who are doin’ it on a shoestring and don’t travel with their partners. It is LONELY out here.

What do you see as the big problems for artists on the fringe festival scene?

The pay-to-play aspect, without question. Can we just put a spending cap on this shit, in terms of advertising budgets, etc? Also, Fringe festivals get GREEDY. I have seen so many festivals, around the world, expanding their festivals, opening more venues, really actively going out there and encouraging more participants, WITHOUT doing the legwork to develop audiences for the Fringe at a commensurate pace. If you as a Fringe are committed to having an open-access festival, where you do not have any controls on how many performers get in, then you MUST put at least 90% of your organizational energy into getting audiences into the Fringe pool AND promoting shows equally.

Also, this has not been a problem for me in Perth, because thanks Tomas Ford, but in general, cities need to subsidize touring artists’ housing costs. Just saying. We are the festival, which brings tourism and arts money to your coffers. Partial subsidies and/or an aggressive couchsurfing/volunteer housing campaign would be a great way of showing that you appreciate that work.

 

CAMERYN MOORE is Appearing as part of Tomas Ford’s The Fxxk Yxu: a tightly curated fistful of only-at-the-fringe thrill rides from around the world smashing the Rosemount Hotel’s Four5Nine from Jan 26 – Feb 11.

Tickets are available here

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Mysteria Maxima Media

Author Mysteria Maxima Media

MYSTERIA MAXIMA MEDIA is a West Australian media company spanning publishing, music, film and events. Collaborating with some of the country’s most exciting creatives, we’ve built an inspired army ready to take fresh ideas and passion to the world.

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