Wednesday, July 23, 2014



Pedro De Leon’s Bailey’s Prairie, TX follows Greta Gaines, an interrogation officer right out of the TV series 24, who is trying to get down to the bottom of a human trafficking operation. In this one-and-done scene play, Greta becomes everyone’s badass hero and gets closer than ever to finding a group of girls who are being sexually abused. In a recent talk with the play’s author, Leon said he wanted to write this piece because too many people saw human trafficking as a foreign issue rather than domestic issue, and he wanted to show that these operations can pop up anywhere. But, no matter where the trafficking takes place, awareness needs to be raised, and something needs to be done about it. 

Bailey's Prairie, TX
One of the most interesting and telling lines about Greta’s character is when she says, “My daughter went to school with these girls—and I swear to you, on my momma’s grave that if she’d been one of ‘em girls I’d be the one in chains and not this sorry fuck.” Greta is being very harsh with the man she’s investigating, but she recognizes it would be worse if it were her own daughter. 

What if, let’s just say, hundreds of teenage girls went to a boarding school in upstate New York. And one night, a bunch of men came and forcefully took them all up to Connecticut where they were being sold as slaves for $12.00. And what if you knew exactly who did it? That operation would be shut down in a day, right? Well, that’s exactly what happened in Nigeria a few months ago. You may recall the #BringBackOurGirls campaign, one that started with a explosive fire but soon dwindled down to a trickle of a flame—a phenomenon that seems to be a common theme in this area of the world (Stop Kony 2012 anyone?). We stopped caring, we went back to our normal business, and 200 girls were left hopeless as slaves.

But what if those were our girls? What if they were from upstate New York or a small town in Texas? Would we feel more ownership towards them? Would we give up just as fast? What if those girls were your cousins? Your sisters? Your daughters? Would you even want to go after the perpetrators yourself? Pedro De Leon’s play is a very important piece because it slaps you in the face with an issue we never see as domestic, and makes you imagine it happening in your own town. Maybe it will make a difference in the way we think. And maybe we can still #BringBackOurGirls, even if they aren’t exactly “ours.”

             BAILEY'S PRAIRIE, TX by Pedro De Leon will be presented in the Riant Theatre's Strawberry One-Act Festival on Sunday, August 24, 2014 at 2pm at the Theatre at St. Clement's, 423 West 46th Street, NYC.  For tickets go to #StrawberryOneActFestival #RiantTheatre  #BaileysPrairieTX

           Listen to Kristopher Karcher's interview with Mr. De Leon.

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