“Put your own narrative on sex work to the side and listen with an open mind”
BY JENNIFER KENNEDY. IMAGE PATRICK MATTRAUX
Sex work. Whatever your views, you would have to agree that it is one of the most resilient industries in history.
Edinburgh has certainly played an active part in flourishing the trade, so the city seems the ideal place for the world premiere of Traumgirl, a show that provokes you to explore your own stance on the topic.
Queueing to get in to the Old Lab, the corridor walls are adorned with images from Baroness Elsa, who drew on ideas from women’s sexual social politics for her provocative poetry and art in the early 20th century. A good appetiser before the main event.
Performance artist Anne Welenc greets the audience naked – with bubbles blowing out of her bottom! She captivates the audience in her role as Kim, a sex worker, Polish, a bartender and an actor. Candid and vulnerable, she delicately explores themes such as sex, money and identity.
As the show progresses you find yourself considering your own stance on the profession. Is it degrading to women? Perpetuating stereotypes and encouraging their sexual objectification? Or is it simply work? Giving an opportunity for money, stability, autonomy, flexible hours and even job satisfaction? “I prefer to fuck instead of serving drinks,” is Kim’s view.
Performed in response to Traumgirl, Traumboy is performed on alternate nights by Daniel Hellman. Take my advice – go and see both.
Read up on the sometimes tough, sometimes tolerant approach Edinburgh has taken over the years to sex work. Google Dora Noyce and Margaret Paterson (Madam Moneybags) – residents who ran highly successful brothel empires. Then put your own narrative to the side and listen with an open mind.
Oh, and expect heated discussions in the bar afterwards!
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