Number 18 is a young Cambodian girl who’s forced into an unimaginable situation. Her aspirations to do exciting things in life were snuffed early when, following some difficult family circumstances, she was forced to live in a Thai brothel, turning tricks every night.
“She’s this really beautiful and sweet young girl and forced into circumstances that you can’t really imagine,” said Andrew Kooman, about one of the characters in his play, She Has a Name.
But, when this man walks into the brothel, not asking for the “girlfriend experience” from Number 18, but rather for answers, the little girl’s flame of hope for a better life is ignited again.
“She starts to see maybe a light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s not just a train that’s going to hit her, but it’s perhaps a way out,” Kooman said. “Into a dream of a new life to pursue the things she’s always hoped to pursue.”
Kooman’s play is coming to the Aeolian Hall on July 12-13 as part of the Burnt Thicket Theatre’s 20-week cross country tour.
While it’s a fictional tale, Kooman said Number 18’s plight is shared by many victims of sex trafficking, which is something he wanted to mirror in his play.
“I think it’s important to do justice to the issue, but it’s also important for us to connect with the human story of trafficking,” he said. “We want to produce really powerful theatre that stands on it’s own feet as art.