The haunting play, She Has A Name, which brings to light the plight of human trafficking, is returning for a 12-city tour. Last year the production, which was written by Andrew Kooman, sold out quickly in every city it played.
“We felt like we needed to tell this story in as many different cities across Canada as we could,” said Director Stephen Waldschmidt.
The audience response and the response from news media and theatre critics was such that we think the play has something to offer to Canada, in terms of how Canada is responding to human trafficking and maybe moving Canadians, and our government, and our culture to address the reality of trafficking both here and abroad in a more active way.”
The play follows Number 18, a 15-year-old prostitute who has been forced into working in a brothel, and Canadian lawyer Jason. Jason is building a case against a ring of brothels trafficking young girls in Bangkok, and Number 18 must risk her life to testify for him.
Andrew Kooman won’t be traveling with the tour, said Waldschmidt, though he will be out to the talkback panel discussions after the Saturday matinee in every city. Waldschmidt said the plan is to try to arrange a talkback with someone who is working locally against trafficking in each city, as well as with someone from a national perspective. Member of Parliament Joy Smith is going to be part of the talk back in Winnipeg and Ottawa.
“It’s a powerful piece of theatre. It’s a thrilling, kind of gripping, suspenseful story so if you’re looking for a good night out and kind of an action packed theatre experience that’s one reason to come,” said Waldschmidt.
Another reason, said Waldschmidt, is if you’ve heard of human trafficking and know it concerns you but you don’t really know much about it. Besides attending a panel discussion after a Saturday matinee, there is also an informative aspect to the show itself. It will leave people with at least a little bit better understanding of human trafficking. Waldschmidt thinks in some sense patrons may be inspired to take action in their own life to be an abolitionist.
“The play is in Bangkok in Thailand and there are, of course, these places where sex tourism is an industry. I think as human beings we have a responsibility to make ourselves aware about the great injustices that are occurring in our generation, and I think this is one that is growing, yet at the same time there’s a growing movement to stop it,” said Waldschmidt.
“Seeing this play I think will help people engage with the injustice of human trafficking, not because of the statistics or that sort of thing that tends to be kind of paralyzing but because they will have in some sense lived vicariously through the experience of Number 18 and Jason trying to rescue her. I think their emotional connection to those characters will evoke more of a human and individual response from them rather than reading about the issue and signing a petition. I think it’s more something that needs to get under our skin and bug us until we bring an end to it.”
The show will be playing on stages in cities including Lethbridge, Red Deer, Edmonton and Calgary. Information about show dates and times can be found at shehasaname.net.
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