Sydney A. Mason appears as multiple characters in Tira Palmquist’s World Premier play, “Safe Harbor”, which was developed in Lower Depth Theatre Ensemble’s Cycle of Violence commission series.
What has become the most significant take-away for you from doing this play?
I think and I want to be careful in saying this but I think sex-work should become legal. Its existence needs to comes to light. A lot of the activity is taking place because its in the dark. I’d like to believe with it being legal you’d be able to regulate more and there will be an understanding of when/where/WHO are involved. Sort of like what they’re doing with marijuana… This play highlights the underage women who get roped in but it all stems from the umbrella that is sex work. Another significant take away I have, coming from the family’s perspective, is to TALK to the children around you. Don’t just provide for them, care for them and understand who they are.
What did you know about sex trafficking prior to being cast in “Safe Harbor”?
I was aware of sex work but not the specificity that is ‘sex trafficking’. In another play, I was a Courtesan (talk about a type) but it was set during the time of Lysistrata so we’re talking 400 years BC. The transaction of sex for money is nothing new. However, the scale of this and how much it is growing…$32 billion dollar industry!? C’mon.
What surprises you most about your character? (Sydney plays multiple)
What surprises me most are the strength of my characters, Jaz & Christine. You have the normalized family figure Christine who seems like she’s ready to step in and be next of kin for Sasha. Then you have the slick talking Jaz who seeks out Sasha. Once Sasha finally seeks refuge, Christine is the one who cracks under pressure meanwhile Jaz doesn’t. I like to think Jaz, though not ideal, has the strongest connection to Sasha. Jaz is just as lost but with more experience at it.
What do you hope audiences will do after seeing “Safe Harbor”?
So much pressure and focus gets put onto the young women who get roped into this lifestyle that I hope people stop and think about the consumers who keep this industry going, not necessarily the pimps either but those who are generating the trade. Where are they? When will they be ousted? How do these trends in the culture keep this idea attractive? What does it really mean to secure the bag…at all costs?
“Safe Harbor”, written by Tira Palmquist, directed by Anita Dashiell-Sparks, runs Saturdays 8pm, Sundays 3pm & 7pm (check listings) and Mondays 8pm at The Zephyr Theatre (7456 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046) through December 15th. Check www.lower-depth.com for tickets and more information. Presented by The Lagralane Group, produced by Kat Rienbold and Lower Depth Theatre Ensemble.