We chat with Andre Lombard, writer and star of the original workshopped play, John. The play focuses on the character, John, as he navigates the underground world of sex workers.
You say that the script is based on true stories. How much of it is true?
I would say about 80% is the truth. If one decides to write about the lives of sex workers one cannot glamourize their lives. I want to present them as human beings and not just one-dimensional characters. The character of John is also based on someone I know personally.
Were you involved in any of the stories you wrote about, or are they other people’s stories?
No I was never involved in any of the stories. I had a lot of help from SWEAT (Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Task group). The volunteers working for the organization are all sex workers and they were more than willing to share their stories with me. I also collected stories from street workers – paying them for their stories instead of sex.
How have you prepared for the role?
I did a lot of study about Asperger’s Syndrome and its effect on the lives of people who have this syndrome. I also read a lot about people Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
How did you come to the name “John” for this play?
The working title of the play was “sold Souls”. As the play developed the character of John developed from a vehicle to carry the stories of the sex workers to that of a complicated human being. No sex worker uses her real name when she works. We decided that John would also not be the character’s real name. One can also see him as a “John Doe”.
Read our interview with all three SBAM actors involved in John: Jeremeo Le Cordeur, Melissa Haiden and Andre Lombard here. Read our one-on-one Q & A with Melissa here and with Jeremeo here. Book tickets to see John at Computicket here. Show starts 21 May.