About Time You Saw: See Me NowBy Gilly Hopper
Instructions for Safety in the Sex Workplace . 1. Don’t give out your real name. 2. Always carry protection 3. Get the money first.
Adorable, B, Beth, Dee, Governess Elizabeth, Flynt, Jane, Pan, Peter, Ric London and Zariya are an ensemble brought together by life. The company of See Me Now are using the production to speak up about their experiences as sex workers, with a narrative constructed of personal anecdotes.
Created and performed by sex workers, See Me Now explores both the collective and individual experience of working in the sex industry. Challenging public perceptions, rather than defying them, See Me Now presents the unexpected. For one, a gigolo who plays piano, ‘is really very interesting’ and looks like a suit, is not your typical stock image of a prostitute. Exposing the contradictions of our society’s moral code See Me Now is astute and on the nose in it’s non-conformist attitude.
It’s rawness and amateur quality gives the performance validity. Vulnerabilities exposed on stage add to the narrative, which at times leans towards self-indulgence. However, it is difficult to critique a harshly criticized, stigmatized and ostracized portion of society for such reflections, given their courage in revealing and reliving their personal experiences. With the aim to further the narrative, a number of devices are implemented throughout the show. Mirrors reflecting the audience are employed in the opening moments of the show and baggage of various size and descriptions – ranging from gym bags to yellow see-through inflatable shoppers – are intentionally symbolic. While some devices add to the overall arch of the work, the baggage metaphor is an over simplified and over stretched mechanism.
The text touches on subjects of trafficking, child sexual abuse, boob jobs and new faces. From suicide to substance addiction, truth, humour and resilience are imbedded in every word uttered on stage. Ric recalls the fear in his colleagues faces, being punched to the ground… and that was when he was working at Sainsbury’s. The text is notional and humorous and catches the audience as they are on the verge of applying judgment. There is a palpable sense of pride, if not ownership, of the stories presented on stage.
The ensemble ‘talk about a lot of our own shit’ and hope the audience comes away with their own discoveries.
See Me Now is at the Young Vic until 4th March