NYW

Let’s Talk Sex Work: A Play is an interactive theatrical piece exploring the daily lives of cisgender and transgender women in sex work. The work is based on true stories and experiences shared with Noga Yechieli the writer/director as a counselor working with sex workers in Tel Aviv, and transcribed testimonies of sex workers from Israel and the United States taken from literature.

This immersive piece intends to challenge Hollywood stereotypes by presenting the struggles, pain, violence, survival skills and laughter in the lives of these women. It delves into the controversial topics of gender hierarchies, female sexuality, police brutality, racism, drug abuse, incarceration, teenage pregnancy, foster care, the connection between sex and violence, and the circumstances that have brought these women into sex work, tackling the critical question of “choice”.

The piece was performed in the 2016 CalArts New Works Festival. We are currently finalizing a tour in Los Angeles during May 2017.

 

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How is it structured?

  • The play is structured like a support group. The audience and actors enter a room containing a circle of 25 chairs. The audience will be seated among the actors in the circle for the duration of the performance.

  • At the end of every performance there is a Q&A with the audience and actors, facilitated by Noga Yechieli the writer and director of the play.

  • Due to the triggering content of the play, the Q&A provides an opportunity for the audience to collectively process the stories in an intimate space, ask questions about the sex work industry, the creation of the piece or the testimonies.

  • The entire event is 3 hours long with two distinct sections that allow turnover of audience half way through. The total number of audience members is 40. There will be a Q&A between each section, so every audience member will participate in one. 

  • Tickets are always free. It's important to us that everyone can take part in LTSW.

come see us!

CalArts New Works Festival 2016

CalArts New Works Festival 2016

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Statement from writer/director

Sex work is an industry deeply embedded in our society. During my work and research I found that the public discourse about sex workers usually pathologized or romanticized them. As a counselor, I kept wishing more people could hear the incredible stories that were shared with me. It was vital for me to use direct quotes from testimonies and interviews of sex workers themselves, because I believe their voices need to come through.

I want people to grasp the complexity of choice in the piece. While many sex workers are not physically forced to work, sometimes their circumstances leave them few or no alternatives. We need to hear these stories and learn about the ways in which they are connected to our own struggles around race, gender, class, sexuality and identity, and take responsibility for sex work and the social conditions that produce it.

I hope this piece reveals the people beneath the label.

I want to deeply thank the incredible cast of women I have had the pleasure to work with on this piece. Thank you for your endless hours, commitment and curiosity to learn about this industry. I am so grateful for the incredible organizations, volunteers, activists, sex workers and social workers I have met throughout this process. I am so honored to have taken this journey with everyone involved.

Noga Yechieli

Noga Yechieli was born and raised in Jerusalem. As a teenager she began to be very active as an out lesbian in the LGBTQ community in Israel. She joined the Jerusalem Open House and represented Israel in a group delegation of LGBTQ leaders from around Europe in Berlin, Germany.  She worked for over two years at Beit Dror- a shelter for homeless LGBTQ youth at risk, as a counselor, logistical manager, fundraiser and representative of the shelter in the media, public panels and in front of government officials. She taught theater in two different shelters for youth at risk as well.  

Noga is currently earning her BFA in acting at California Institute of the Arts and volunteers at the LGBT center in LA. She aims to continue her activism through her acting, raise awareness and bring about political change. 

 

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Camila Ascencio

Camila Ascencio

Camila Ascencio is honored to be a part of LTSW! Previously she has studied at Stella Adler Studio (New York) and is currently working towards her BFA at CalArts. Aside from productions at these institutions she has worked with companies including Golden Thread, New Conservatory Theater, ACT and The Marsh. She speaks four languages and in her spare time she enjoys playing guitar, singing, ranting about social justice issues and being a huge nerd. She would like to thank Noga and the incredible women involved with the project for all of their hard work and support.

Morgan Danielle Camper

Morgan Danielle Camper

Morgan Danielle Camper grew up in Baltimore Maryland where she received professional dance training since the age of three. She graduated from The Baltimore School for the Arts with a concentration in theatre performance and continued her studies at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Theatre. As a professional actress Morgan has performed in many plays, most recently Bound and Gagged  (Washington DC) and Waldy Street, which toured in Atlanta, GA. Morgan has taught acting and dance at Belmont elementary school, and was the competitive dance coach of Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School. Morgan has also recently captured a feature role on TVone’s “For My Woman”. She is a MFA 2 actress at Calarts and is currently working on “The Hendrix Project” directed by Roger Guinevere Smith. She currently teaches acting for the CAP CABLE program and has had an amazing time working on “ Lets Talk Sex Work” She would like to thank God her friends and family for their support.

Working on this piece has opened my eyes to how precious life is. These women are brave, and are making their way through life the best way they know how.

 

Lucinda Jenkins

Lucinda Jenkins

Lucinda Jenkins was born in London and has lived, studied and performed in various places around the world. She is a working actor and currently attends California Institute of the Arts, studying Acting in the Bachelors of Fine Arts Program, with a minor in Philosophy. Lucinda was recently directed by Deborah LaVine and James Franco in 'Talking Like Rain' and has been working on various independent films in Los Angeles. 

"When Noga first approached me about this piece I was filled with emotion. It was clear to me that I had to be involved, although I was a little daunted at how I would do these women and their testimonies justice. Now, a year and a half later, we are embarking on something remarkable. This isn't just a play; it is a place where the gravitas of these women's experiences come to life."

 

Miranda Kahn

Miranda Kahn

Miranda Kahn received her BFA in acting from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and is currently in her last year of her MFA in acting at the California Institute of the Arts. Miranda is an actress and puppeteer and has been making her own work which investigates issues of social justice using puppetry, music and movement. It has been an honor to be trusted with these difficult stories and has been a very meaningful challenge to bring this thought provoking piece to life. www.mirandakahn.com

Tyree Marshall

Tyree Marshall

Tyree Marshall is a Graduating BFA 4 actor originally from New Jersey. Her most recent credits include Montgomery Park or Opulence (Card Catalog) Directed by Stacy Dawson Stearns, Talking Like Rain (Woman and Elevator Boy) Executive Produced by Deborah Lavine and James Franco, and Sleep Deprivation Chamber (Suzanne Alexander) Directed by LisaGay Hamilton. She is also currently working on her own web-series called PUSHER under her production company Big Head Productions.

Henita Telo

Henita Telo

Henita Telo is in her 3rd year in the CalArts BFA program. She has been honored to work with great directors as well as performers, throughout her time here. The level of talent and creative genius she has witnessed has truly shaped her own ideas on what it means to be a “performer”.

“Working on Let's Talk Sex Work has been quite a journey, since this is the second year we are putting it up. It has been a challenge and a humbling experience getting to play the character that I play, I only hope to do right by her and tell a truth that is oftentimes unspoken.” Thank you Noga for creating, producing, and directing this wonderful opportunity.

Claudia Wit

Claudia Wit

Claudia Wit is in her last semester at the California Institute of the Arts, in the MFA Acting program. Claudia is Polish, speaks fluent Polish & is conversational in French. She was born and raised in Toronto, Canada and loves doing improv. Her favorite thing to do is make people laugh. Claudia is honored and excited to share the stories of these women in Let’s Talk Sex Work.

I wouldn't want to be an Actor if I couldn't tell stories, like the stories of these particular  women. Humanity is like Anthropology; we have to excavate the truth in the unknown and it's purpose, so that we can find the truth within ourselves. Theatre helps us do this. We as artists are responsible to share what we find as these Anthropologists. I feel humbled to be a part of this journey with this  talented Director and Actors.

Lucia Xu

Lucia Xu

Lucia Xu is now in her second year of her CalArts Acting training and moved to California from Berlin in 2015. She has recently graduated from Berlin’s Humboldt University with a BA in Cultural Studies and Art/Visual History. She joined the cast in fall 2016.

This piece reminds me that with this work and its world, it’s not important to have opinions but to give credit, and that this is what is needed.

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Our partners for May 2017 Tour

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We have partnered with The Los Angeles Lgbt Center for our upcoming performances!

 


Thank You to:

 Our Collaborators and Consultants

COYOTE LA (Cut Out Your Old Tired Ethics)
ISWFACE (International Sex Work Foundation for Arts Culture and Education)
California Institute of the Arts
Beit Dror- Shelter for homeless LGBTQ youth at risk in Tel Aviv
Norma Jean Almadovar, Megan Carter, Samue Fierro, Dr. Anat Gur, Maaian Lichtensztajn,
Evelyn Sorrano, Yeela Lahav Raz
Salina Mahoney- (producer for the 2016 New Works Festival performance)
Kathy Bates- Graphic designer
Andrew Wofford- photography

Our sponsors

Chris Caffrey
Natasha and Virginia Colin
Bob and Binnie Holum
Lauren Moreno
Ilene and Mark Rosenberg
Lilla Giambra Smerkanich and Helen Smerkanich
  

 

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Upcoming dates

Los Angeles tour May 2017

We have partnered with the LGBT Center in Los Angeles! Come see us on

May 19th, 22nd, 25th, 26th,  

 at 6:00pm and 8:30pm

@ The Los Angeles LGBT Center
The Village at Ed Gould Plaza
1125 N McCadden Pl. Los Angeles, CA, 90038

 

to reserve tickets:
Click here!
Or contact us at: 
letstalksexwork@gmail.com

 

 

Bring Let's talk Sex work: a Play to you

Our piece is ready to tour! Invite us to your community center, campus, organization, theater or community

 

where can we perform the piece?

ANYWHERE. We can use any type of space, as long as it can contain 25 chair set up in a circle. That's it!

What do we need to come to you?

  • Funding to compensate the actors, and travel expenses
  • A room with 25 chairs 

 

contact us today at:

letstalksexwork@gmail.com


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