V-Day has become a day of significant import in Cranbrook, and this year what has proved to be a very popular production in Cranbrook is being performed again.
The Vagina Monologues takes place Friday, Feb. 15 at the Key City Theatre. For the third time, Tanya Laing Gahr is directing the powerful, episodic play by Eve Ensler dealing with aspects of the feminine experience. For the second year in a row, the event will serve as a fundraiser for the Cranbrook Women’s Resource Centre.
“It’s a much different show (than last year),” Laing Gahr said. “There are similar monologues, but (playwright) Eve Ensler adds new monologues every year.
“But one of the things I’ve tried to do is amplify the First Nations voice. In this production we have more voices from the Ktunaxa Nation, or those connected to a First Nation of Métis heritage.
“One of the reasons I did this is because rates of violence on reserves are higher that what’s usually reported.”
The Vagina Monologues is made up of a varying number of monologues read by a varying number of women. Each of the monologues touches on matters such as sex, love, rape, menstruation, birth, orgasm, the various common names for the vagina, or simply as a physical aspect of the body. A recurring theme throughout the piece is the vagina as a tool of female empowerment, and the ultimate embodiment of individuality.
Sixteen local performers will take the stage Friday at the Key City Theatre to bring the monologues to life.
The play is the cornerstone of the V-Day movement, whose participants stage benefit performances of the show and/or host other related events in their communities. Such events take place worldwide each year between February 1 and April 30.
As well as the Monologues themselves, V-Day has become associated with One Billion Rising, a campaign also instigated by Ensler.
One Billion Rising is a global campaign calling for an end to violence, and for justice and gender equality. Thursday, Feb. 14, is the date of the one-day event, which calls for one billion women around the world to walk away from their homes, businesses, and jobs, and join together to dance in a show of collective strength. The word “billion” refers to the one billion women who are survivors of abuse.
“It’s a global movement that’s telling people to stand up and be counted, that the violence and oppression that affects all of us — not just women — is coming to an end,” Laing Gahr said of One Billion Rising. “One of the things that happens with any kind of abuse — whether it’s domestic, sexual or child abuse — is that the victim becomes isolated, and shamed. What this movement does is say ‘there’s more of us than you (more abused than abusers), and we’re not carrying that shame any more, because it’s not ours to carry.’”
Last year’s production of the Vagina Monologues — also directed by Laing Gahr and produced by Susan Hansen — raised nearly $8,000 for the Women’s Resource Centre, which has been serving women in Cranbrook for 41 years.