Deep into the second week of February, candy hearts are smothering prominent displays in the local drug stores; student orgs are selling carnations to send to your friends so no one feels alone and miserable on the encroaching holiday; paper heart chains have been strung along every restaurant window; Hallmark card sales have reached their annual peak; and my email inbox is littered with email offers for discounted mail-order flowers.
We all know what this means.
It’s time for the 13th annual V-Day: a global movement to stop violence against women as instigated by Eve Ensler’s riveting, shocking, beautiful, and heart-hurting-ly-good theatrical piece, The Vagina Monologues!
(Of course i’m not going to talk about Valentine’s Day when i can talk about revolutionary and radical feminist works of art. What made you think otherwise?)
Every year, Mount Holyoke – being the supremely marvelous women’s college that it is – presents The Vagina Monologues on V-Day. I’m thrilled, personally, to be a part of the performance for the second year in a row. Last year, for those who know the show, i did “The Vagina Workshop,” and this year am portraying an eccentric, vivacious old woman in “The Flood.” It’s always a delicious challenge as an actor to portray characters within the show – each character is rich in such a complex, cocktail of emotions, and you only have ten minutes (or so) to convey their intricacy to the audience. And even though you are portraying a character, and not your self, there is a deep level of vulnerability demanded of the performers. We stand on stage talking about sexuality in a real, visceral, sometimes disturbing, profane, hilarious, and deeply personal way. It’s easily the most exhausting and exhilarating ten minutes of stage time i’ve ever had.
And, yes. V-Day is intentionally chosen to fall as close to Valentine’s Day as possible. The V in V-Day, as found on the official website, stands for three things: Victory, Vagaina, and Valentine. To me, it is the best way possible to spend my Valentine’s weekend: celebrating women, celebrating the power of love over abuse, and embracing a global movement united for change.
(For anyone interested: the performances of the show are tomorrow, Friday at 5 PM and 9PM and Saturday show at 2 PM. More information on facebook!)
current jam: “eight miles wide” storm large