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Edinburgh #2: Fake Geek Girls


The second in a series of posts about “Who Are You Supposed To Be?” – my rom com for geeks, that’s playing the Edinburgh Fringe in August. Tickets on Sale Now.

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Jen’s based in London but she was back in Australia at Christmas time to discuss what the show would be about. I knew about her various interests and which parts of nerd culture we had in common. And I wanted to find a way into telling a story about science fictions fans and convention goers that had a hook.

It started with an image. An image of a woman dressed as the Doctor from “Doctor Who”. No particular Doctor came to mind, but a woman dressed as the Doctor suggested a kind of conflict – if only because the Doctor has always been played by a man. And there’s often discussions about whether the TV show will ever cast a woman as one of his future incarnations. But that’s just an interesting image, not a hook to a story.

Besides, people who dress up in costumes for science fiction conventions don’t worry about blurring gender lines or race lines or body type. They dress as they feel comfortable. They dress as their favourite characters, no matter what.

The problems arise when people judge their costumes – and not in competition!

Another controversy that rears its ugly head every now and then in fandom communities – and particularly around convention time, is the idea of the “fake nerd girl”. There’s even a meme:

No girl I know would make this mistake.

The suggestion is that only guys are really geeks and girls are only into science fiction to A) get attention from boys and... well, that’s it. They dress in sexy superhero costumes to attract boys. They pretend to like Star Trek to attract boys. They wear Star Wars t-shirts but couldn’t tell a Rodian from a Sandperson. Supposedly.

What the nefarious end game of these “fake nerd girls” is supposed to be is anyone’s guess.

So, our characters Ash and Gene meet at a science fiction convention. Ash is dressed as the Fifth Doctor, as played by Peter Davison. (The reason for this choice of Doctor? So I can put Jen in the plunging neckline of a cricket jumper... and make jokes about celery!) Gene approaches and innocently asks, “Who Are You Supposed To Be?”

Wackiness ensues.

Peter Davison as The Fifth Doctor
Not a girl
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As part of the ongoing development of the script, Jen and I, along with our director, are meeting via Skype tomorrow night Melbourne time. We’ll talk structure. We’ll talk character motivation and dramatic stakes. We’ll discuss beginnings and endings. And lots of other things related to the show.

As part of my ongoing refining and rewriting of the script, I am holding the first public reading of the play at the Owl & the Pussycat in Richmond this Sunday night (May 26th) at 6:30pm. 

Come along, enjoy the show and let me know what you thought after. I need all the feedback I can get before I do the next revision. I need to hear the lines out loud. I need to hear the audience laugh. And I want to know what works and what doesn’t.

The wonderful Petra Elliott and Ben McKenzie - who have their own well-founded nerd credentials in the ongoing Doctor Who podcast, "Splendid Chaps" - will be reading the roles of Ash and Gene.

So, if you’re in Melbourne – Sunday 26th May, 6:30pm. Owl & the Pussycat, Swan St, Richmond. See you there! It's free.

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