On May 1st, Thai sex worker Thanta Laovilawanyakul enters the Danish stage in Copenhagen to add a new perspective to the question; why do Westerns travel around the globe to get something as banal as sex.
One by one, people from the audience will be lead onto the stage to play different experiences with sex worker Thanta Laovilawanyakul at Betty Nansens Theatre in Copenhagen in May.
The controversial play ‘Love-Theatre’ has been developed by two Danish instructors: Tue Biering and Jeppe Kristensen.
“The sex industry is a very unique ‘place’ to see how we behave and who we are as citizens in a modern time with capitalism and globalization,” Jeppe Kristensen says.
In several years, the two instructors have been curious about the phenomenon with Westerns travelling around the globe to get something as banal as sex. And they want to investigate the different feelings, which they believe exist in this specific industry – such as respect, self-esteem, fantasy and the need of engaging in deeper relations.
“Our curiousity, and not or opinions, will control the play to make us try and understand what happens in this industry – and through this; try and understand modern identity as well,” Jeppe says.
A complex job
Thanta Laovilawanyakul plays one of the mainroles in the play ‘Love-Theatre’ – the audience plays the other. Thanta will choose who is going with her on the stage. Through acting she wants to show the Danish audience what men in the industry are looking for.
“Clients want to feel comfortable. Some of them do not want sex but just someone to talk to and someone that listens. Some of them are even looking for a friend,” Thanta says.
According to Thanta, her job as a sex worker has many different aspects. She sees herself as a professional giver of love.
“My job is about love in the sense of giving care and support to costumers. I allow them to let go and be themselves, and it makes me feel that my job is very important,” she says.
She explains and shows with her eyes and bodylanguage, how she will connect with the person, she brings to the stage. But laughs, when I ask her to act with me.
“Go see the play, and you will see,” Thanta laughs while slightly blushing.
A real person
When the Betty Nansen Theatre in Copenhagen recreated the movie Pretty Woman on stage, they hired sex workers from the street to play the different characters.
The play ‘Love-Theatre’ is different, because it is not a recreation of a movie, but a recreation of a lived life: The life of Thanta Laovilawanyakul.
“We want to know, what happens in that moment, when a sex worker and a client meet. What is love and what is theatre?” Jeppe Kristensen explains and continues:
“It is quite essential for us that the actors in the play are ‘normal’ people – not famous Hollywood actors, but people who lived a life with experiences, which they can transfer to the Theatre,” Jeppe says.
Prejudice on prejudice
When Thanta Laovilawanyakul started as a sex worker, she started feeling sad about what she was doing, because she felt that society was looking down on her profession.
“I remember people walking by the bar, where I was working at that time, and they were looking at us in a certain way,” she says.
Although she had many different jobs and possibilities to do other things at that time, she did not want to stop working as a sex worker.
“I found out that I was providing useful services. I have helped people and they have been able to move on with their lives, and that really makes me proud of, what I am doing,” she says.
Thanta started working as a sex worker, when she was 22. Today she is 43.
The right job
Although Thanta is happy with being a sex worker today, she believes there is a long way to improve the working conditions for sex workers and the industry in general. The big challenge is to change the society’s opinion about the profession.
“We are working in legal bars and nightclubs, but still we are considered as outlaws,” she says with a certain look in her eyes.
In her opinion, it is a process, like in any other job, to become good at what you are doing. To help improve the working conditions in the industry, she teaches other sex workers – both men and women, how to be safe and how to become professional.
She hopes that by passing on her own experiences, she will be able to help others, who choose to become a sex worker.
“We have the right over our own body – it does not belong to any society. The society and the culture should no longer dictate what women or men should do,” she says.