WITH THE many headlines about President Duterte’s inappropriate behavior and remarks about women, Senate President Sotto’s inept quip about groping women without their consent, and the many incidents of violence against women, there is a need, more than ever, for women to make themselves heard.
The New Voice Company (NVC) celebrates the 20th anniversary of VDAY, a movement which uses the play The Vagina Monologues to raise awareness to end violence against women, with a special one-weekend staging of the play in English and Filipino (translation by Rito Asilo).
This year’s staging is response to the current administration’s tolerance of sexism and misogyny.
“It’s a different time now. [It’s] a different landscape, but sadly we know that all forms of violence are still prevalent,” NVC artistic director and the global director of the One Billion Rising movement Monique Wilson told the media last week at a press conference in Makati,
“As artists and activists, we can no longer keep quiet. We’ve not been doing all this work in the women’s movement — Vagina Monologues and VDay for 20 years, Gabriella for 35 years, One Billion Rising for seven years — only for us to hear current presidents — that includes Trump and many of the world presidents — just normalizing forms of violence against women,” said Ms. Wilson. “We knew and experience the power behind [the] Vagina Monologues and the voice it gave us so many years ago. So, we’re very excited to do the play this time.”
The Vagina Monologues is a series of monologues based on interviews with 200 women that writer Eve Ensler put together. The topics presented include body image, menstruation, love, sex, childbirth, and rape. The show runs for an hour and a half with three women taking turns reciting the monologues.
Joining Ms. Wilson onstage is a veteran of NVC’s The Vagina Monologue presentations, actress Missy Maramara, as well as actress and activist Mae Paner (also known as Juana Change). The show is directed by TVM/VDay actress and former UK One Billion Rising coordinator Thea Tadiar, and produced by NVC executive producer Rossana Abueva.
“The Vagina Monologues are really stories, not just of women talking, but of women all over [the world], and women that [you] know. You might have stories that need telling that will be onstage and you won’t feel alone. It might be a story not just of yours but of someone who is close to you and is important to you,” Ms. Maramara said.
“This is not just a play for women,” Ms. Wilson said, encouraging men to see the show. “We need to change the consciousness also of men.”
“When I put up New Voice Company, I was only 22,” Ms. Wilson told BusinessWorld, adding that people doubted that she would succeed in staging plays with themes dealing with current issues. “I used to think, ‘Why are they asking me this?’ If I were a guy, they wouldn’t. So, it actually fueled in me more to prove that we (women) had a voice.”
Staging the play today serves to bring to light political factors alongside of women empowerment. “The difference [from the first staging] is that we’re more purposeful now in our objective why we’re doing [the] Vagina Monologues. We really want to say ‘no to sexism’ and ‘no to misogyny.’ We have to give women their voices and, at the same time, [we have to] work towards more concrete change,” Ms. Wilson said.
The Vagina Monologues will be presented over one weekend — on Aug. 11, 8 p.m. (English) and Aug. 12, 3 p.m. (Filipino) at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza in Makati City.
For more information, contact 896-6695 and 899-0630, or e-mail email@example.com. Tickets are now available at the New Voice Company and Ticketworld (891-9999, www.ticketworld.com.ph). — Michelle Anne P. Soliman