'Jane Doe in Wonderland' on tap at CCC
Sex trafficking is a harsh reality for people worldwide, but not typically the subject for whimsical theater.
The anti-sex traffic organization Game Over wants to change that and the product of its efforts will be on display later this month at the Chehalem Cultural Center.
"Jane Doe in Wonderland" engages the audience on a difficult subject in a light and comfortable way through the experience of a survivor in a setting similar to "Alice in Wonderland."
The play brings to light how young women and men are lured into the world of sex trafficking, often close to home.
The play is specifically written to be accessible to a high school audience using characters such as Romero Pimp to expose common red flags in trafficking.
"There is nothing explicit in the play, it is real clean," said playwright Erin Johnson. "We tell the story through the eyes of the survivor. … What we've tried to do in our play is to make it educational and entertaining, to make a serious subject digestible and understandable."
"Jane Doe in Wonderland" was a collaborative graduate project of Johnson, Grace Booth and Kate Tobie. In searching for a project, they talked to sex trafficking survivor Elle Snow and came up with the idea to create a play around her story as a community effort to generate awareness.
"It has changed my life. I've been hearing (Snow's) story …," Johnson said. "She taught me that I had a lot of misconceptions and no concept of what happening in the U.S. Our culture as a whole is geared toward anyone who might be considered a prostitute; we do tend to glorify pimps. People tend to look down on prostitution, but sometimes the person does not have a choice. When we understand the tactics a trafficker uses then people will know how not to become a victim."
The trio began with two readings in Humboldt County, Calif., in 2016 and progressed to acquiring donated costumes, props and funding, then performed professionally 13 times in 2017 around Humboldt County. Last year they decided to extend their boundaries and start performing in the Portland area; Newberg is their first Oregon performance.
"We are excited to be here," Booth said. "I think it is such a unique project. The play is based on community-based art to get a message across and uses metaphors throughout the play."
A dress rehearsal of "Jane Doe in Wonderland" is set for 7 p.m. March 28 at the Chehalem Cultural Center. Tickets are $8 for adults and free for educators and students under age 18.
The play opens at 7 p.m. March 29, tickets are $15 adults and $5 for students. Tickets may be reserved in advance by visiting www.janedoeinwonderland.com.