Preview: ANERDYFANGIRL394

Riona Millar 21 November 2019

2014 was a strange year in many ways.

Highlights for me included my cherry-red hair dye growing out and having to get appalling highlights to try and make it look marginally more normal, going into a bra size that H&M only had in maternity bras, and realizing that I shouldn’t take Art GCSE. My preferred medium was dodgy poetry – Lola Miller’s was fanfiction.

In ANERDYFANGIRL394, Lola returns to the hormone soup that was being 14/15, with access to (probably illegal) streaming sites of the hit US tv show Supernatural, and a profile on fanfiction.net.

These two, in combination with more sexual frustration than Mills and Boon would shake a stick at, led to Lola, or anerdyfangirl394 as she was better known by, writing a 26,689 word long fanfiction called “Dean and Jo: Son of a Bitch!”. For the uninitiated, fanfiction is fiction written by a fan (duh) of a tv show/film/fictional universe, typically featuring characters and scenarios from the particular affiliated universe. In this case, Lola was writing about about one half of Supernatural’s brotherly duo, Dean Winchester, and a long-lost love that reappears in ~supernatural circumstances~ and it is beautifully, spectacularly bad.

The show takes the form of a series of anecdotes about and reflections on being fifteen, interspersed with dramatic readings from the fanfiction itself. Be warned – it is rated “M” for mature content, which naturally means greatly detailed sex scenes. As explained in the show, at the time Lola had yet to even hold hands with anyone, let alone engage in the fairly graphic hardcore erotica that takes place in the fic.

Image credit: Jay Chiswick

Sitting in on a rehearsal, I arrive shortly after Lola’s just finished a full runthrough, so I am around to hear the notes of director Tigerlily Hutchinson and assistant director Bilal Hasna – and even this is enough to make me squirm, with familiar concepts like knee socks, alternative Tumblr blogs and the concept of being “seriously nerdy”. I am given the blessed opportunity to witness the choreographing of the show’s dance break (crucial in any one person – or indeed, any show) and to suffer through some choice phrases of the erotica, like: spoiler alert! “glistening folds”… I shall go no further.

Lola is a far braver woman than I, not only in choosing to share the fanfiction’s most explicit moments, but also screenshots of the toe-curlingly cringy conversations she was having over Facebook messenger at that time.

I freely admit now that I repeatedly made inhuman noises ranging from squeaks to full-on yells in response to the level of cringe going on.

It is in effect Lola lovingly ripping the piss out of her younger self, in what actually ends up feeling oddly reassuring. Being fifteen was pretty awful for most of us, and it’s unlikely that many people would be comfortable reliving it in any context, let alone in front of an audience – but the Corpus Playroom is one of those spaces where you can feel really involved with a performer, especially when it’s just them onstage. In this way, Lola will be our spiritual guide through revisiting the harsher sides of teenage cringe, and reminding us that actually we have grown as people. We don’t post Harry Potter memes with “xD” as the tagline anymore – or at least, most of us don’t – and we don’t worry nearly as much about whether so-and-so thinks we’re cool, because, let’s face it, we know we’re not the kind of cool our teenage selves aspired to be. As ANERDYFANGIRL394 shows, though, we move on to bigger and brighter things – like a Corpus lateshow reading of hardcore erotica.

Image credit: ANERDYFANGIRL394

I asked Lola if she thought she would return to the world of Dean and Jo – after all, 26 000 words is a lot of effort (more than twice both her dissertations put together). She gives me a steady look. “If everything goes really south after graduation, then, yes, I’ll go back to writing porn.” I think for the sake of Lola’s future, we shouldn’t hope for a sequel anytime, so catch Dean and Jo: Son of a Bitch while you can!

ANERDYFANGIRL394 is on at the Corpus Playroom from Thursday 21st to Saturday 21st November at 9.30pm. Tickets are available at https://www.adctheatre.com/whats-on/comedy/anerdyfangirl394/