On February 4th I had the opportunity to see Project Dawn by Karen Hartman at the Unicorn. Project Dawn is a project in Philadelphia that gives women caught in prostitution the chances towards recovery and rebuilding rather than prison time. It was a beautifully written and researched play. The amazing part of it was that the characters played two roles – both of the women in the courtroom trying to fight for the women in prostitution and the women caught in prostitution. Part of the evening was spent with a representative from veronicasvoice.org – who indicated that every prostitute has been abused at some point in her life. As much as we try and sugar coat prostitution – that it can be a woman’s choice, that it can be legalized, that it can be a way for a woman to earn money, it boils down to abuse.
Furthermore, the johns are never punished. It is those that are abused and shamed – they miss out on their families. Project Dawn seeks to change the trajectory of their lives.
For a great in depth review of the acting and directing, please see: http://kcstudio.org/streets-project-dawn-unicorn-theatre/
What this play taught me: Use your characters to sell and impact your audience. The play wouldn’t have been the same at all if the characters didn’t have dual roles. Without telling the audience in any type of line, it showed the audience that any woman could end up in that situation. We have two paths we as women can end up on, and there is a lot of gray. There is so much gray out there, and so much control over women, and so much absolute abuse. We can’t even tell where women have been or ended up, as the abuse is so rampant. We can be an attorney, or a judge, but who knows where we started? And the men who put us there don’t face one second of punishment.