A year ago the What You Can Do team went to the Fourth Universalist Society in the City of New York to film a rehearsal of their upcoming production of The Vagina Monologues. Though schedules didn't permit a visit this year, we were able to interview the current director of the production, Erin Bigelow. This year's production marks their 3rd year performing Eve Ensler's groundbreaking show.
Can you tell us a little bit about the history of The Vagina Monologues.
Eve Ensler wrote and performed the play "The Vagina Monologues" 17 years ago. The play began as a culmination of interviews with 200 women from all walks of life. The play ran Off Broadway for 5 years and in 1998 V-Day was established with a star-studded performance of The Monologues at Hammerstein Ballroom in NY. The mission of V-Day is to completely end violence against women and girls. Every year there is a new global spotlight campaign for the focus of the funds raised bringing V-Day to 130 countries as of today including countries like Afghanistan, The Congo, Asia, and Egypt. The V-Day movement has raised over $80 million and reached over 300 million people.
Please tell us about your version of The Vagina Monologues?
This year our 'theme' for 4th U's production of The Vagina Monologues is "Make Yourself At Home". The idea of the space is much like a red tent, to be comfortable and inviting as if you were in your own livingroom where you would share your stories with friends. We're also incorporating media throughout the production this year, not to distract but to enhance the message of the monologues.
What is the focus of your production?
This year our Spotlight Campaign is for the women and girls of Haiti. After the January 12th, 2010 earthquake shook the center of the country and destroyed 60% of it's infrastructure, most people were left with less than nothing. Before the quake, 74% of Hatian women were suffereing from rape and abuse. After the earthquake these women were left even more vulnerable to the rise in gang violence, and the V-Day safe haven that had been created by Eve Ensler in 2005 was also gone. 10% of the funds from the productions this year are going to create a safer country for women and girls addressing gender-based-violence in post-earthquake Haiti.
If someone wanted to get involved and help - what can they do?
Anyone can buy tickets to our performances (April 8th and 9th @ 8pm) and/or donate online at: Tickets.
We're always in need of donators! If you own a company or provide a service, we're holding a raffle at our Vagina Fair (starting at 7pm both nights) and are accepting any and all donations for our raffle. We're also accepting all theater crew assistance!
If you're interested in learning more about VDay's history and current efforts in Haiti, I'd encourage you to come to our Haiti Teach-In on Saturday, April 23rd. It will be followed by a benefit classical piano concert offered by Emir Gamsızoğlu.
Anything else you would like us to know?
Fortunately, this year we're expanding our diversity in the cast to the deaf community, as well as the expansion and inclusion of a beautiful array of ethnicities. The entire production will be ASL interpreted.
The 'V' in V-Day stands for Victory, Valentine and Vagina