London Events: Vagina Monologues 2010

Ah, vagina season: a time for moaning, teary-eyed laughter, self-reflection, awareness and, of course, chanting “cunt” at the top of your lungs as one with an audience in a crowded theatre. Each time I see Vagina Monologues – whether in New York where I saw my first production or in London where I’ve seen my last few – I adore it even more.

It’s real, emotional, passionate, sometimes in-your-face. It cradles you, speaks gently to you, makes you burst into fits of helpless laughter and makes you sad enough to cry for women around the world who have been victims of abuse. It makes you angry, curious and filled with wonder. It builds a sense of companionship with other women rather than one of competition. Mainly, it leaves you feeling empowered.

was invited to press night on Friday by Emma Jane Richards and Annie Saunders, the director and producer of V-Day London. The actresses were dynamic and enthusiastic. The show was hilarious. Last year’s tickets sold out and I have no doubt this year’s will do the same.

If you’re not familiar, Vagina Monologues is part of activist Eve Ensler’s V-Day movement, a global cooperation to raise awareness of violence against women. The proceeds of these yearly productions staged around the world go to a certain cause chosen by Eve. This year, they will help to open the City of Joy, a safe house in the Congo.

While the plight of abused women worldwide is the focus of V-Day as a whole, Vagina Monologues is by no means dry or fact-ridden, nor does it preach about its cause. On the contrary, it is a celebration of women, lifting away taboos and stigmas, filling the theatre with amusing antics on pubic hair, gynaecological “duck lips”, triple orgasmic moaning, experimental lesbianism, a vagina connoisseur called Bob and an old woman’s “down there”. It is meant to make you slightly uncomfortable in the beginning but by the end, you walk away more comfortable than you could have thought possible with all things to do with vaginas.

This year’s production is part of a brand new and exciting festival called See You Next Tuesday, with all events taking place at the New Player’s Theatre nestled in the arches beneath Charing Cross Station. I haven’t missed the chance to see this at least once every year for the last five years, so I would, of course, highly recommend it.

FYI – The audience was at least 30% male and the guys were loving it, so don’t think it’s just for the women!

Last year, I wrote an article on V-Day London 2009 for Seven Magazine and interviewed Emma Jane and Annie which will explain the concept in greater detail.

Venue: New Players Theatre, WC2
Dates of show: March 9th, 12th, 13th, 16th, and 19th at 8pm & March 20th at 2:30pm

For more info, see yesterday’s post on the See You Next Tuesday festival.

London Events: See You Next Tuesday

Vagina season is coming.

Preparations have kicked off for V-Day London events, so I showed up at the first meeting this week to get a sneak peek at the plans.

See You Next Tuesday is the title of an exciting new two-week festival surrounding V-Day, masterminded by Emma Jane Richards and Annie Saunders. Londoners are invited to celebrate women and open their eyes to a different world at the New Players Theatre. It’s V-Day on steroids, pumped up with comedy, screenings, theatre, cabaret, workshops and tea time discussions… and, of course, the hilarious and heart-wrenching Vagina Monologues and A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant and a Prayer.

“This festival is like a playground,” Emma Jane explained to us, tapping her red pencil against a notepad that was scribbled with ideas. “It’s somewhere fun where you feel safe and comfortable to enter the doors. It’s all about entertainment with a conscience. You’ve got to open your eyes to what’s around you. We want it to be inviting, engaging to a person on the street, to someone who doesn’t necessarily understand post-feminism or wherever it is we are at right now.”

In other words, anything that celebrates women or highlights violence against women goes. Ideas were tossed around for everything from photo exhibitions to female comedians to lessons in cooking Congolese food.

V-Day creator Eve Ensler has decided that this year’s spotlight remains on the plight of the women in the Democratic Republic of Congo who continue to face incredible amounts of violence, especially rape and the consequences of other war crimes.

So, for a worthy cause and some good laughs, rack your brain and come up with a unique idea or two in order to get involved or simply volunteer a few hours of your time standing in front of a tube station handing out flyers. (Men are more than welcome too!)

Events kick off on 8th March 2010, International Women’s Day and run until the 20th.

To pitch an idea, volunteer your time or make a donation, please contact Emma Jane at pitch@vdaylondon.com

For more information on V-Day around the world, check out: http://www.vday.org/

Graceless in Edinburgh

One of my articles was just published in Seven on a theatre production called Graceless which addresses Feminism and its meaning in 2009:

Womanhood means independence, love, nurture, office politics, impending wrinkles, wobbly bits to conceal and curves to flaunt. It makes us vulnerable to the lure of frilly knickers and inevitable blisters from staggeringly high heels that would make Carrie proud. Womanhood leads us on a journey of friendship, family and self-discovery, twisting around the oddities and awkwardness that often accompany us on the ride. It’s about time we confronted the raw truth of it all. Continue reading…