EVE Ensler's Avocado, the latest play by the Tony Award-winning writer of The Vagina Monologues, is a short, sharp shock of the new at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds, from Tuesday to Saturday.
This commission from the American human rights activist forms the second world premiere in this spring's A Play, A Pie & A Pint season, all 25 minutes of it.
Originally entitled Angel Whore, but now re-named Avocado, this darkly humorous and disturbing monologue explores the brutality of human-trafficking, a young woman's perilous journey towards freedom and the sanctuary she finds in the simplest things, such as the darkness when you close your eyes.
Ensler's play is set against a background of thousands travelling to new countries every week, searching for a better life. Some go by plane, clutching a passport. Some by container, gasping for air.
As the plight of migrants and asylum seekers unfolds on our screens, Avocado relates one such story in a monologue performed by Holby City and Doctors actress Rebecca Grant, directed by Playhouse associate director Mark Rosenblatt, with sound design by Mic Pool.
Alongside the Playhouse production, discussions on migration, asylum and trafficking will take place after each performance with a panel of experts, campaigners and front-line workers.
Joining the first discussion will be Philippine actress Monique Wilson, director of the global movement One Billion Rising, which advocates mass action to end violence against women and has held a Valentine's Day demonstration for the past three years. Her campaign work takes her across the world, latterly to Indonesia where she has been instrumental in the fight to free Mary Jane Veloso, a mother and migrant worker who was reprieved execution because of a global uprising in support of her case.
Mark Rosenblatt says: "The West Yorkshire Playhouse is the world’s first Theatre of Sanctuary, passionately advocating and supporting refugee and asylum communities in the region. Eve Ensler is a global human rights activist, as well as an internationally renowned playwright. So it seemed natural to ask Eve if she might be inspired to write something for us. Eve, being Eve, immediately said 'yes'. Combining an urgent, outraged call for social justice with artistry, wit and humour, Avocado is a short, explosive monologue and a trigger for provocative debate."
Eve Ensler is best known for The Vagina Monologues, the 1996 play that has been published in 48 languages and performed in more than 140 countries. She is founder of V-Day, the global activist movement to end violence against women and girls, which has raised more than $100 million to end violence, and the aforementioned One Billion Rising, a global mass action campaign in 200 countries.
Tickets for Tuesday to Saturday's 7pm performances are on sale on 0113 213 7700 or at wyp.org.uk