Dramaturgy Notes

By Carina Abbaticchio

The story of Lela & Co is that of millions of women who are trapped in places of war, with their bodies stuck in the middle. Although based on a true story, playwright Cordelia Lynn has fictionalized the original story, and mixed it with a variety of experiences, as well as with research. Most women who escape remain silent for fear of being found and sold back into the sex industry, which is a common occurrence. In witnessing Lela’s story we are given a chance to reflect on the stories of women around the world who are unable to have a voice. 

Sex trafficking is defined as “the business of recruiting, harboring, transporting, obtaining, or providing a person and especially a minor for the purpose of sex." It is generally more prevalent in places where there is poverty, where the body of another can be used as income, as well as in places where the government is weak or particularly corrupt, allowing for larger rings to exist without regulation. More often than not, women find themselves being tricked into sex slavery through promises of jobs, or loving marriages. Globally, 1 in 5 victims of trafficking are under the age of 18.

Sex trafficking is not a problem tied to a particular region, gender, or age. It is estimated that 4.5 million people are being forced into sexual slavery around the world, but it is difficult to have an accurate count since most cases go unreported. In 2016, statistics showed human trafficking rose 35.7% in the United States.

Resources used in creating Steep's production of Lela & Co.

Take a peek at the images designers used to inspire their concepts. 

BBC | February 2017
This article deals with sex trafficking statistics in the UK and interviews people who operate rings. “Fatos Kapplani, currently serving a 15-year sentence for trafficking children to Greece ... What, I asked, made him do it? "It was a time that everyone was doing that kind of thing," he says.”

The Guardian | January 2015
This article tells the story of a young woman who fell in love with a man at 14, and immediately agreed to move to Greece with him, where he forced her into prostitution. “These traffickers are really, really clever,” Megan says. “I want people to understand it’s not as easy as getting up and leaving.”

Assistant Directors Isabel Perry and Michael Rogerson explore a variety of quotations and allusions throughout Lela & Co.