Tuesday 15th February and Wednesday 2nd March 2005
Directed by Paul Millington and Robin Hall
The Vagina Monologues is a feisty, sensitive, touching, funny and sad piece of theatre, quite unlike anything else.
This is a joint production with Portsmouth Rape Crisis Centre as part of V-Day 2005. The V in V-Day stands for Victory, Vagina and Valentine (V-Day takes place on 14th February). The aims of V-Day are to raise awareness of the violence faced by women and girls, and to raise funds to stop it. Our production will raise funds for this year's nominated V-Day charity this year "Women of Iraq Under Siege" and primarily for the Portsmouth Area Rape Crisis Service (PARCS).
The Vagina Monologues is an episodic play which originally ran at the off-Broadway Westside Theatre and at HERE Arts Center in 1996. The production has been staged internationally in over 70 countries, and through V-Day, has raised money for women's anti-violence groups. Eve Ensler wrote the first draft in 1996 and there have been several revisions since. Ensler originally wrote the piece to "celebrate the vagina." however she states that in 1998, the purpose of the piece changed from a celebration of vaginas and femininity to a movement to stop violence against women.
The show is made up of a varying number of monologues read by a varying number of women. Every monologue somehow relates to the vagina, be it through sex, love, rape, menstruation, mutilation, masturbation, birth, orgasm, the variety of 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.
This play was staged at Havant Arts Centre, East Street Havant - Bench Theatre's home since 1977.
|Wear and Say||Joy Kelsey|
|The Flood||Ingrid Corrigan|
|The Vagina Workshop||Sue Dawes|
|Because He Liked To Look At It||Sharman Callam|
|Vagina Happy Fact||Lorraine Galliers|
|I Was Twelve. My Mother Slapped Me||Elizabeth Williams|
|Not So Happy Fact||Lorraine Galliers|
|They Beat The Girl Out Of Me||Helen Murfin|
|My Angry Vagina||Jo Bone|
|My Vagina Was My Village||Lorraine Galliers|
|The Little Coochi Snorcher That Could||Lynda Fleming|
|My Short Skirt||Andrea Summers|
|Reclaiming Cunt||Sally Hartley|
|A Six Year Old Girl Was Asked ...||Gina Farmer|
|The Woman Who Loved To Make Vaginas Happy||Zoë Lodrick|
|I Was There In The Room||Amanda Eels|
|Directors||Paul Millington |
|Technical Crew||Tim Taylor |
|Production Crew||Members of Bench Theatre|
|Artwork and publicity||Zoë Lodrick|
We have both directed before, and wanted to again, and when PARCS approached the Bench to ask if anyone would like to be involved in a fundraising production we didn't hesitate to say yes.
There are lots of things that appeal; plenty of challenging parts for women for one (there never seem to be enough to go around). The show has everything - it is funny, sad, moving, easy to relate to, real and both profound and intelligent. It will make you laugh and cry in the same evening and give you things to think about for a few weeks and beyond.
It is refreshing to be able to talk about vaginas without having to be embarrassed, to accept that a vagina is no more shameful than ones knee or hand. (After all, more than 50% of us have one, and most of the rest of the population seem to be quite keen on them.) This show has received a lot of attention, but much of that has been "tabloid" in nature, cries of outrage at the rude language, prudish fascination at who has dared to perform it, but not (that we have seen) a lot of sensible discussion.
These pieces have a lot to say about vaginas. They also have a lot to say about women and how they see themselves, and how that is affected by the attitudes they encounter towards themselves and their bodies. They are as much of interest to men as to women, and we're sure that everyone will find something here that they can relate to.
Performing a monologue, or in a very small group, can be an unnerving experience, and directing such a piece daunting. We have been very fortunate to work with such a lovely, adventurous, easygoing group of women (and so many of them) who have made this a joy. Some of the performers you see tonight are already famed for their talents; some are completely new to the stage and all have been willing to offer something of themselves through their acting.
Many people have worked very hard to make tonight happen in order to raise money for an excellent cause. If we have done any hard work we were having too much fun to notice. We hope you find it as rewarding to watch in performance as we did in rehearsal.
Paul Millington and Robin Hall