I’ve struggled to write this review. Not because I didn’t have interesting thoughts about this piece, but because I couldn’t quite place them in the pantheon of criticism. It is at times performance art. At times a discussion piece. At times theatre and at times a series of emails.
Trojana is what might be called back in the old world a mixed medium piece. I would be fascinated to know how they would have staged it in what we longingly now call real life. As it was, it arrived to me as a series of emails each with a challenge and a piece of performance, art or reading attached.
The challenges opened your mind to the world of webcamming. Those (mostly) women who perform as if they want to have sex with sweaty, dingy men for hour after hour to earn a living.
The piece is written and performed by two former Webcammers. They do so with a fascinating subtlety that doesn’t prejudge either the performers or punters, but also doesn’t present the gung ho “sex positive” attitude that the phrase “sex work is work” (intended not as the start but the end of any discussion) entails.
This was not the end of the discussion. In fact the last piece you take part in with Trojana is an hour long discussion of the piece and the themes raised in it with the performers. This was well managed and extremely interesting. Sadly I had to keep coming in and out as I had technical sound problems (don’t you just love theatre in the age of Zoom?).
Trojana doesn’t really come down on one side or other of the polarising sex work debate and is the stronger for it. It recognises the dangers and exploitation but also asks questions about what how to best fight those that neither side are looking at. They are interested in academic studies – ones I don’t think you could get funded in this world where asking questions is seen as being aggressively anti.
This show isn’t going to necessarily answer your own questions. But it will ask a lot of you. It will make you think about your own attitudes to sex work but also those of the world around you. In a world where everyone knows what a webcammer does, we should be a lot more curious about what the effect of that is – on us and on them.
The production company Defiant Reality can be found on Instagram and Facebook