Sex Trafficking

BGHS actors hope new play brings issue of sex trafficking out of the shadows

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Bowling Green social issues theater troupe is taking its fight against juvenile sex trafficking to a new stage. The troupe has been presenting a scene about the issue for five years, including at conferences aimed at combating sex trafficking. That production was a devised play that was worked up by cast members. The devised scene was open ended. At the conclusion the audience didn’t get a resolution but a chance to talk. When the drama club earned $1,000 for creating a public service announcement on sex trafficking, drama teacher Jo Beth Gonzalez and the Drama Club decided to use the money to take the scene to another level, and “Lily’s Shadow” was born. Gonzalez brought in a friend who is a playwright Roxanne Schroeder-Arce to collaborate with the students on writing a script for a one-act play based on the devised theater piece. “Lily’s Shadow” will premiere at the Bowling Green Performing Arts Center Sunday, Oct. 29, at 3 p.m. The half-hour long play will be followed by a talk-back session about the dangers of human sex trafficking among minors. The playwright will be in attendance. “We hope people will give us a perspective on what they see because we hope the piece will have further life as a published piece,” Gonzalez said. Gonzalez said the play is fitting for children as young as 10. “We want young people to come to the play because it’s for them.” Children that young, she said, are targets of traffickers as is pointed out in the play. Schroeder-Arce, a former high school drama teacher who now teaches at the University of Texas at Austin, traveled to Bowling Green to work with the students. Gonzalez said she “jumped at the chance” to work with students. The scripted one-act play with more fully developed characters, a story arc, a layer of metaphor, and theme. “The characters are much better developed and that makes it easier for the actors,” said Elaine Hudson, who is cast as a male trafficker Vic. Recently Gonzalez and members of the cast and crew spoke about the upcoming production. Another cast member Kat Knoell said Schroeder-Arce had them write letters in the voices of the characters to get a sense of what is going on in their minds. They would have sessions, Knoell said, where “everyone was talking, putting out our ideas and Roxanne…

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