(Steph Harmon's article appeared in the Guardian, 9/6.)
As you walk in to the theatre, you’re handed the rules to The Game.
“You may leave at any point,” the sheet of paper reads. “If any one else wants to leave they may have to move past you … If you feel affected by any of the scenes you see tonight, these [phone] numbers might help.”
The concept of the “trigger warning” may be inching towards overuse, but as the lo-fi production came to its violent close in Brisbane – leaving a blood- and semen-covered bed in its wake – the shellshocked audience was left acutely aware of its value.
Created in 2015 by Grace Dyas of Dublin-based Theatreclub, in collaboration with performers Lauren Larkin and Gemma Collins as well as current and former sex workers, The Game calls on five volunteer men each night to help tell the true stories of six women who sell, or sold, their bodies for sex.
The dangers of rebranding prostitution as ‘sex work’
In an extract from her new book, Pimp State, activist Kat Banyard argues that prostitution is sexual exploitation. Decriminalising this industry only legitimises the abuse of women
In doing so, it presents a demanding, confronting and ultimately inconclusive exploration of the best way forward for a contentious industry, which to one person is “prostitution” and to another is “sex work”; to one person is exploitative, and to another is empowering.