For a brilliantly good time, call Flying V, who notched up the fun last Friday with The Adult Fan Fiction World Championships.
So why are you reading about it here? Because this is a theatre site, and Flying V is a theatre group that produces way more than staged plays, so what the what? Well, a staged reading—no matter the topic—is a performance. And a performance worthy of praise, in my opinion, is theatrical (if you think I’m toeing a thin line here, please comment below, and we can debate). And so, I praise Flying V and their staged reading of adult fan fiction—perhaps the first (for DC) “Reader’s Theatre” incar(l)nation of soft porn for nerds. Bravo.
Moving on. Fan Fiction (fanfic for short) has become a genre (some would say a celebrated one) unto itself. Making it adult is a bit of a different ballgame. And, if you’re confused on what that “genre” is, let’s break it down. Adult—for those over 18, kind of like the “Adult Superstore” you see advertised on billboards while traveling down the interstate. Fan—a person who adores something in pop culture (usually a series—be it movies, books, video games, or show—often with a sci-fi, fantasy, or magical bend but not always). In nerd circles these are also called “fandoms.” Fiction—make believe, often referring to the written word, as in novels, novellas, or short stories. Adult Fan Fiction: a short, made-up story, randy in nature, about something, or someone, in pop-culture written by a rabid fan.
Think of it as porn for, and by, the nerd. Those of us who want—not a nameless couple with no backstory in bed—but our trusted, beloved heroes from galaxies far, far away and fantasy, escapist worlds getting their due as we read and imagine them in the buff. Or, we want something inspired by those worlds. More simply: Fifty Shades of Gray is adult fanfic inspired by Twilight. That’s right, an adult so loved a teen romance series that she wrote soft porn in homage to it. Consider yourself schooled.
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Which brings us to Flying V’s first ever The Adult Fan Fiction World Championships, hosted by Noah Houlihan of +2 Comedy. The premise was simple. Two rounds (i.e., “Acts”), both featuring five performers—chosen from among Flying V company members and local comedians and writers. Round One’s performers pre-wrote their stories around pre-chosen fandoms. Round Two’s performers chose from audience suggestions and wrote during Round One (cue a collective “Oooooooh”). They got two options and if they didn’t like either, they got a third wild card they had to use.
Thus, Round Two Performers—Ramon Bender, Navi, Christine O’Dea, Vegas Lancaster, and Kevin Skiffington—got saddled with HBO’s Watchmen, Doctor Who (the Tenth Doctor), Miracles (what?), School House Rocks (thank you wise audience), and Sailor Moon (sure) respectively.
After host Noah Houlihan treated everyone to his own fanfic, presumably to help those poor Round Two folks bank more time to Google what the hell Miracles is about, Round One started. Let’s see if I can pique your interest while keeping this PG.
Round One illustrated what is great about fanfic, generally, and adult fanfic all around—the depth of human imagination and its ability to sexualize seemingly innocuous, and innocent, things such as The Great British Baking Show and KitchenAids, which is what Zachary Fernebok, a self described “painsexual” did, flipping Paul Hollywood’s handshake on it’s head (no pun intended).
This Round hit all the right notes, from the mother and father of all fandoms—Star Wars and Star Trek—to The Addams Family and even Ben Affleck because, see, even singletons who have rocked our pop culture conscious are fair game in the world of fanfic. The contestants/writers had the gift of time and the polish showed.
While you can never see this show again, you can listen to it. It will be launched on a new Flying V Podcast, “Audio Awesome,” in two parts, with Episode 1 available around Tuesday, March 10th. You’ll also be able to find it on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, and Stitcher.
David Pratt’s old school approach to Gomez and Morticia Addams worked wonderfully, as he sounded like a 1940’s radio broadcaster matter-of-factly recounting the on goings of a ménage trois at Cemetery Lane, complete with that charming snap and catchy tune, albeit new words of the sado-masochist variety. We always knew these two were not just kooky, but also kinky, right?
Jonelle Walker chose the Rey-Lo route—that beloved Dyad from The Rise of Skywalker we’ve been shipping since the holidays—and nailed the landing (this pun totally intended). Not to be outdone, Latisha Jones went all in on with a steamy group orgy helmed by the sexiest Enterprise Captain (no arguments, please), Jean Luc Picard, who has a foot fetish, it turns out.
Finally, Alexandra Petri, Washington Post columnist extraordinaire, gave us the coupling we deserve, but not the one we need right now: Justice League Ben Affleck (aka Batman) and Shakespeare in Love Ben Affleck and Good Will Hunting Ben Affleck and Armageddon Ben Affleck and every other Ben Affleck from every Ben Affleck movie. Ever.
Round Two, while maybe not as polished as Round One, did prove that, man, people can Google fast, and get dirty in a hurry. Again, innocence was slaughtered.
Skiffington asked what if Sailor Moon, nay Popeye the Sailor Moon, was one of us, just a slob like one of us? See, pop-culture mash-ups in fanfic are totally game. And then Navi—a Doctor Who virgin charged with satisfying a bunch of fiercely critical, omnipresent Whovians—delivered the 10th Doctor in a Night at the Museum mash-up by riffing on British snobbery and voyeurism, as done by Weeping Angels. Well played, Navi. Well played.
Bender asked a question I can’t repeat, but if you know anything about Watchmen, take a guess and imagine a buck-naked, all-seeing Doctor Manhattan spying into the bedrooms of his series cast mates, as well as other HBO programming, and, well, you get the picture. Another day, another voyeur. Next, O’Dea, who got Miracles. Ever heard of that? Its about paranormal investigators for the Catholic Church, which she reminded us of several times as they ravaged each other, in a Starbucks, and then ravaged well-known biblical figures.
And, finally Lancaster sang his way into everyone’s hearts by educating the audience on baby-making (from the perspective of a sperm) and erectile dysfunction while plugging women’s right. Slow clap, dude.
Every time, I wondered how the next story would top the previous, somehow it…it didn’t top, but stood on its own two feet with style, humor, voice, and imagery worth every laugh (and more) it earned. I’m not going to tell you the winners of each Round. Instead, listen to the podcast and see if the audience chose wisely. Also, laugh and enjoy a damn fine, tawdry ride.
Hosted by Noah Houlihan of +2 Comedy. Featuring Alexandra Petri, Zachary Fernebok, Jonelle Walker, Latisha Jones, David Pratt, Navi, Kevin Skiffington, Ramon Bender, Vegas Lancaster, and Christine O’Dea. Produced by Flying V Theatre . Reviewed by Kelly McCorkendale.