Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Vagina Monologues

The Mountain Women's Resource Center once again brought the Vagina Monologues to our small rural area. This was the third time Cindy and I had seen the production, and I was no less affected this time. In fact, I'd have to say that I'm even more astounded by Eve Ensler's message each time I see it.

Traditionally performed on Valentines Day--VDAY- The Vagina Monologues is intended to promote a global movement to end violence against women and girls. Ensler's award winning production juxtaposes hilarious scenes about "down there" with disturbing facts and portraits about violence against women. The result is emotional to say the least.

Director Janis Stevens, who was a company actor with SRT in the '80s and '90s, returned to lead the 10-women cast. (To this day, I can't envision Hedda Gabler or Lady McBeth as anyone other than Stevens.) In the program notes, Stevens writes:

Contrary to what many think, this play is not a feminist diatribe. This play is a chance for everyone, women and men alike, to gather and rejoice in our humanity and to remind ourselves that we have the individual and collective power to "Stop the Violence" from happening in our lives and in our world.

To that end, the local production benefits not only the Mountain Women's Resource Center but also the women of the Democratic Republic of Congo where systematic sexual violence and femicide (the killing of females) not only destroys women and young girls but entire families and communities. The play reveals this truth in vivid yet sensitive portrayals.

But Ensler doesn't leave us floundering in tearful dismay. She also makes us laugh, and the full house last night was alive with good will. I wanted to go Saturday night rather than to the matinee because I knew "everyone" would be there then and I was right. The lobby before and after was a crush of bodies and ringing with conversation. We lingered long after the show visiting with a network of friends--work colleagues, health care profesionals, yoga classmates, meditation buddies and even family, for just as the lights dropped Cindy spotted Andrea a few rows ahead of us.

At the start of the show, Janis Stevens did a brief introduction during which she entreated us to tell friends about the show. There is a matinee today(Sunday 1/11) at 2pm. If you attend, I guarantee that you won't be disappointed and the cause is clearly important.

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