Interview with Lauren Larkin – The Game – Project Arts Centre
We had the chance to talk to Lauren Larkin, performer and co-creator of The Game about the work. The play opened in the Dublin Theatre Festival in 2015 and has since travelled extensively. It is returning to the Project Arts Centre for two nights only, tonight and tomorrow night.
13 April 2017-14 April 2017 7.30pm
A lot of work went into this production, research and discussion with sex workers in preparation for this piece. Tell us how you went about this?
We decided we wanted to make a show about prostitution/ sex work when we read Rachel Moran’s book ‘Paid For’. We met Rachel and discussed her book and the topic with her in depth. She then came on board as one of our collaborators. After going to talks and putting a call out online, more women approached us and shared their stories of prostitution/sex work. This happened organically. We realised quickly that there were very different schools of thought out there about the whole subject matter and very different views on which legal model should be implemented in Ireland. The show consists of 6 women’s lived experiences of prostitution/sex work, some with a very negative and harrowing experience of it and for others, quite a positive experience of it. As artists, we were very struck by the debate and wanted to explore that theatrically.
‘The Game’ requires five men. Has it been difficult to get men to volunteer?
Since its debut at Dublin Theatre Festival in 2015, we have brought the show to Australia, the U.K. and we are just about to finish our Irish tour in Project arts centre this week. It is remarkable, but we have not had to cancel a show due to a lack of interest from men who want to participate. We have been bowled over by men’s courage all over the world to take part in the ‘The Game’ to support women. It’s very touching. We have designed the show so that it can be played with four men each night and we have done that on a few occasions. We found recruiting men in some rural parts of Ireland quite difficult but men still volunteered and these women’s stories were still told and I find that very moving!
Have you had men that admitted to having bought sex? Does this alter the experience?
The show is not about the men’s past or present experiences with prostitutes/sex workers. It is about supporting women and redressing misogyny so we can live in a more equal world. We don’t know the men’s history and nor do we ask them. They are asked about why they want to take part and why they want to support women. We take it from there.
It’s a difficult topic to investigate. What reactions have you got from audience members?
It was definitely a difficult job to investigate, and at times, I wanted to give up. I felt like I had no right to be researching and making art about these women’s lives. I soon realised that it was vital to continue researching. Shining light and started conversations is really important and if it is hard then that is good a thing because it shouldn’t be easy. What we are talking about is complex. It is urgent. We all have a responsibility for what happens to each other. We also have a responsibility to educate ourselves and make ourselves knowledgeable so we know what we want to happen next, that’s why I would urge everyone to see this piece. It’s not an easy watch but it is an important one.
Find out more about the Game here.
Devised by Gemma Collins, Grace Dyas and Lauren Larkin with Rachel Moran, Mia deFaoite and other women who have exited prostitution and women currently involved in sex work.