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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Tour Whore by Cameryn Moore

“THE DEERINATOR”
Hmmm. <sniff> I’m pretty sure that’s Frappucino.
by Cameryn Moore

[Publisher's note: Today we are launching a new column by actor/writer Cameryn Moore, a star of the North American Fringe circuit. Enjoy!]

Some people spring-clean their homes. I spring-clean my car. 

It’s a ritual now: take the car to the self-service car wash, give it a nice wash and dry, and then excavate down to the tattered original carpeting. Together with Cid (my good friend and occasional roadie), we pull out two bags worth of detritus from the previous year’s tour. Prop bags, kitchen bags, laundry bags. A mountain of Canadian pennies plus the occasional loonie (ooh!), a half-full box of blank Phone Whore postcards, two broken umbrellas—better salvage that red fringe—countless plastic wrappers from around bottles of Starbucks frappucinos and a bottle of cough syrup and old programs and a baseball hat from the Calgary Fringe and tampons that fell out of their box so long ago that the paper wrapping is shredded and they’re starting to soak up whatever spilled on the floor back there. Hmmm. <sniff> I’m pretty sure that’s Frappucino.

“THE DEERINATOR” (in a Bladerunner font)

My car is a 1991 Toyota Corolla called the Deerinator. That’s the official name; you can’t argue with custom 4.5-inch-high yellow decal letters that spell “THE DEERINATOR” (in a Bladerunner font) and a painted yellow police outline in the shape of a deer. Before, it was just an old-ish car with deer-impact dents, but now, it’s an Art Car!

I will be on the road, doing Fringes and festivals and self-produced shows, until the middle of November.

Thing is, the Deerinator isn’t only an art car. It’s also my home, for the next eight months. I start touring this year the first week of April, and barring a couple of weeks off at the end of May, I will be on the road, doing Fringes and festivals and self-produced shows, until the middle of November. You flip the mental calendar pages and do the math. I’ve already done that and I get a little tired thinking about it. 

I couch-surf while I’m on tour, so it’s not like I ever overnight in my car. Well, I did once, in July 2010, when I just couldn’t push any further west than Medicine Hat and all the hotels were full. Deep sleep isn’t really possible in the Deerinator, jammed full as it is with suitcases and a kitchen bag and set pieces and props for three shows. No, that seat will not recline again any time soon, so I can’t, you know, properly sack out. But I pretty much do everything else in it: Eat. Nap. Rehearse. Hold interviews with bemused journalists. My car is my pantry, my clothes closet, my office, my boom-boom room (yes, the stick shift is a challenge, but I’ve discovered six ways to work around it).  

I create in my car, too, and not in some woo-woo, “the night skies of New Mexico inspire me” sort of way. They do, but it’s more than that. Driving this much, I end up spending a lot of time thinking—making myself think—about new shit. Not whatever show I’m on my way to, that’s not new, that’s performance already, it’s done, but the NEW show, the one that I’ll have to have a script for by December 31 in order for my director to look at it and say, yeah, okay, I’ll work with that, rehearsals start in two weeks, better start running your lines.

No pressure.

Maybe you don’t know what that means, but basically there was jack-all happening in the landscape to keep me awake...

Last October I had my major breakthrough about this year’s show, power | play, while the Deerinator and I were somewhere west of Lubbock, Texas. Maybe you don’t know what that means, but basically there was jack-all happening in the landscape to keep me awake, it was flat as all fuck, and I had that awakeness that is completely and heart-poundingly superficial. Underneath my wide eyes and upright posture I was battling 24 hours of sleep deprivation, desperate for something to keep me awake until I got to Austin. The radio wasn’t helping, it was complete shit out there, and I was sick of the mixed-tape CD that had been stuck in the CD player since Montreal, so I kept blinking and drinking my warm Frappucino and thinking. 

I thought, I’ve got less than a month before all the deadlines start rolling for the fringe, and all I’ve got is the title for my show, I know it’s something about power and play and dynamics and choice and then BAM, it hits me, the subtitle, and BAM holy fuck, I know how this show should be structured and BAM, I better call Cid. Cid, hey, you got a second? Okay, you’re riding virtual shotgun, write this down, are you writing this down? Great, great, a shared Google doc is fine, I don’t care, just WRITE IT DOWN.

Yeah, the magic happens here.

Even Japanese cars die, eventually.

And after two years touring in this car, I can’t imagine doing it in anything else. I know I’ll have to at some point. Even Japanese cars die, eventually. But right now the Deerinator is doing well. The spring cleaning is set for two weeks from now. There’s a short list of minor repairs and upgrades, a small stack of patches and cut-out t-shirt logos to be stapled to the ceiling, the site of a growing collection of buttons and condom wrappers and a single dried rose and a… what is that, a tiny stuffed pig?... and other ephemera of doing Fringe tours.

Before I go out this year, I’m planning one last little craft project, one little piece that will take pride of place in that ceiling collage: a cross-stitch sampler, the sort of thing you might find hanging on the wall at your grandma’s house.

Home is where the keys fit.


http://www.camerynmoore.com/

1 comment:

  1. I remember the first time I met the deeranator. I think there was still a yellow tape outline on the hood!

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