In 2009 I returned to the “stage” as an actress for the V-Day Campaign 2009. What is V-Day, you may ask? V, stands for victory, valentine, and vagina. Each year, since 1998, Eve Ensler has promoted her work The Vagina Monologues as a one woman show, or through the V-Day Campaign for actors across the world to create their own shows for their community. I am proud to be a member of the Albany community performance of The Vagina Monologues for the second year. My friend Amanda Brinke thought that a community performance would stand out beyond the performances done at area schools. As it is, the performance of The Vagina Monologues that I participate with, is the only community group performing in Albany. To that, I am grateful, as I may not have had this opportunity had it not been community based.
If you are not familiar with The Vagina Monologues, you can get a plethora of information regarding the V-Day Campaign through their website. The information provided is disseminated from that site. Each year the V-Day Campaign selects a worthy and worldly issue surrounding women, to give it a spotlight, so people can see what is actually going on around the world, as well as in our own back yards.
V-Day generates broader attention for the fight to stop violence against women and girls, including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation (FGM) and sexual slavery. -vday.org
The campaign spotlights a certain cause to show the world what is happening, provide charitable help and awareness. For the past two years, the spotlight has been on the women and girls in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Past spotlights have included:
- The women of Afghanistan featuring “Under the Burga.”
- The plight of Bosnian women raped by soldiers as a ploy of war featuring “My Vagina Was My Village.”
- The first ever transgendered cast in 2002 with “They Beat The Girl Out Of My Boy…Or So They Tried.”
- In honor of the residents of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina with “Hey Miss Pat,” first performed at the 10th Anniversary in 2008.
- Showing the violence in the Middle East against women in Baghdad with “The Memory of Her Face,” and “Islamabad.”
- One of the first spotlights dedicated to the missing and dead women of Cuidad, Juarez, Mexico, telling of the kidnapping, rape, and murder of over 300 women in “Juarez.”
- Dedication to the “Comfort Women” women and girls who were kidnapped by the Japanese Government and used as sex slaves during World War II with “Say It.”
- Stories that reflect the days that American Indian Women spend living in isolation and without resources with “Crooked Braid.”
Each time I see a performance of The Vagina Monologues, whether performed by Eve Ensler, or by a group of women, I laugh, cry, and am filled with wonder, anger, and sometimes hatred against those who have been, and are so cruel to what is called “our greatest resource.”
For the past two years, the spotlight campaign has been on the women of the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo). I wondered at first, why would they focus on the same group for two years in a row. Then I learned that the DRC is committing the equivalent of genocide, with the women and girls in their own country. Last year’s spotlight performance was “Baptized” in which Eve details an encounter she had with a young girl when she visited the DRC. This year the performance is highlighted in her new book I Am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World. The monologue performed is called “A Teenage Girl’s Guide to Surviving Sex Slavery” which brings so many emotions to light.
I have been privileged to do both a comedic performance, “Reclaiming Cunt,” during the 2009 campaign, and this year with “I Was There In The Room,” which speaks of being in the room with a woman giving birth, of which I was for my friend Esther in 1995.
The preview performance was moving last night. We all reached a level we hadn’t in rehearsal, which is why I love the actual performances. I am really looking forward to opening next week.
If you are interested in attending our version of The Vagina Monologues, here are details you need to know:
- Location: 217 Cafe @ 12 Delaware St., Albany (Corner of Delaware/Jefferson)
- Dates: Sunday, 3/21/10; Monday 3/22/10; Tuesday 3/23/10
- Time: 7:00pm Dinner, show to follow.
- Cost: $35/person. Includes dinner, non-alcoholic drinks, and dessert. Tax, tip & beer/wine are extra.
- Charity: 10% of proceeds go to the V-Day Campaign, while 90% goes to Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood.
- Reservations Required: Call Amanda Brinke @ (518)253-9821.
***NOTE*** Sunday night’s performance is SOLD OUT! Please contact Amanda as soon as possible to guarantee a seat. This is a great show, with great food, and for a great cause. I encourage each of you to attend.