About sex work and prostitution, says an actress in the play “Love for Sale” by American director Karen Preece, who chose to live in Dachau. Unwilling to talk about it any further, she asked, “Is that all?”
No. This is just the beginning – Press takes visitors on an exploration into the gray areas in an industry with an annual turnover of €14.5 billion. Everything you think you know about prostitution is wrong. It starts with the numbers: 1.2 million men are said to go to sex workers every day, and 400,000 people, mostly women, are said to work in the trade alongside men and transgender people in Germany. However, these numbers, which have been cited repeatedly since the 1980s, are not very reliable.
What is certain, however, is that public perception of people who offer sex work is shaped by cliches and prejudices, and their lives are shaped by social and legal discrimination. Based on the director and author’s long-term research as well as her extensive and close conversations with people from the prostitution milieu, the play highlights the acts of lust.
Speak with your voice
As in her theatrical work with the homeless or those leaving the neo-Nazi scene and their mothers, Bryce never presents her protagonists in a voyeuristic manner. It gives them space to raise their voices on stage, without being patronized by a society that, on the one hand, needs love for sale and, on the other hand, is morally dishonest, requiring legal prohibitions.
They are the experts, as the manager calls them – and rightly so. They talk about what it means to present your body as a commodity from your own experience. How self-determining is sex work, how many women work under duress, and what serious criminal structures — human trafficking, pimping — have an impact on this shadowy world?
Lots of questions on the way home
Preis, who lives in Dachau, has worked on many stages, including productions of the Berlin Ensemble, the Munich Kammerspiele, the Munich Volkstheater and the Berlin Schubühne. Recently, she celebrated great success with “Vienna Anatomy” at the Volkstheater Wien. In all of her plays classified as documentary theatre, the director leads the audience to confront themselves.
Also in Love for Sale: What Does Dealing With Sex Work Say About Us and Our Society? “As much as we are surrounded by sex, pornography, and prostitution in everyday life, we rarely talk about it publicly,” says Price. What does sex work say about the capitalist system and about #Metoo and power structures? Bryce tracks down these questions – and gives them to the audience to take home.
Premieres Saturday, November 26, at 8 p.m.; Further performances on November 27, 28, 29 and 30, each starting at 8pm at Munich’s HochX Theatre, Entenbachstraße 37. With Lisa Marie Stojčev and Angela Aux. Tickets for 18, reduced by ten euros less than www.theater-hochx.de/tickets.