For one week in July, six actors came together to workshop Tira Palmquist’s commissioned play titled, ANYONE’S GIRL [Update! As of January 2019, this piece is now titled SAFE HARBOR]. As the first work under our Cycle of Violence commissioned series, Tira’s delicate mission was to find an “in” by shining an unapologetic light on just one of our cycle of violence topics, sex trafficking. After months of research and uncovering and recovering all the nuances (good, bad and ugly) sewn into this topic, Tira presented a tapestry draft for our team to try on and ultimately digest. With the assistance of LDTE Director, Doug Oliphant and dramaturg, Dylan Southard over eight-hour days, the material was chiseled and reworked — and reworked again.
Each day, Tira would present new pages (sometimes up to 30+) for actors Yvonne Huff Lee, Veralyn Jones, Jonathan P. Simms, Yumarie Morales, Tristina Lee Bryant and Paul Turbiak to speak into their truth as real-life characters involved in this underworld.
A private reading to LDTE supporters was presented at the end of this mentally-exhausting week. As you can imagine, during the post-reading discussion, many questions were asked; feelings we didn’t want to feel were felt … some coming to the surface during chilling moments as we learned just how incredibly easy it can be to lure girls and boys, sometimes as young as twelve, into a position of commodity.
We ended the week with a private event for new and potential LDTE members which included performances of selected scenes from ANYONE’S GIRL and an intimate screening of the powerful documentary, I AM JANE DOE which chronicles the legal battle to take down “Backpage” a popular online site which sold young girls for sex.
As we dove deeper and deeper into this disturbing topic, we all came away from the experience with the question of: What can I do?
In early 2019, we will revisit Tira’s commissioned work with a staged reading. We hope you’ll get involved and together we’ll keep fighting for an answer.