It seems more than serendipitous that, as the #MeToo and “Time’s Up” movements claim the media spotlight, 2018 marks the 20th anniversary of the founding of V-Day ( vday.org ), a global …
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It seems more than serendipitous that, as the #MeToo and “Time’s Up” movements claim the media spotlight, 2018 marks the 20th anniversary of the founding of V-Day (vday.org), a global non-profit founded by The Vagina Monologues creator Eve Ensler with the goal of ending violence against women.
The Vagina Monologues is a play written by Ensler in 1995 collecting her interviews with over 200 women. It was first staged in 1996 by the HERE Arts Center, a New York City theater company.
This year’s Denver’s production of the play will take place at the Mercury Cafe at 2199 California St. The dates and times are Feb. 2 at 7:30p.m. and Feb. 11 at 1p.m. It will be co-directed and produced by Kate Spencer. Spencer’s co-director is Rachel Schiff.
This is Spencer’s first year working with a Denver production of the play and her first year serving as director, but she’s been involved with the play itself for some time. Her first involvement was in 1999 as a performer; she was a student at St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY. It was the second year, she says, of the play becoming a national phenomenon.
“I’ve always been an activist and a feminist in various forms,” she says, “so I really wanted to put my energy into something this fall.”
Spencer started looking for a place for that energy and noticed that the previous director wasn’t able to participate in this year’s production, and from there, she was committed.
As the title suggests, The Vagina Monologues is a series of monologues read by women from diverse circumstances and cultures. Often, actors are used to present the narratives, but casts and production techniques can vary. As noted at wikipedia.org, “[e]ach of the monologues deals with an aspect of the feminine experience, touching on matters such as sex, sex work, body image, love, rape, menstruation, female genital mutilation, masturbation, birth, orgasm, the various common names for the vagina or simply as a physical aspect of the body.”
The recurring theme is empowerment in the face of oppression and degradation. And, Spencer says, this year a “focus on the intersectionality of violence is at the forefront of this production.”
Most all productions of The Vagina Monologues benefit a specific group or charity, and this year, 90 percent of the Denver show’s proceeds will be shared by the Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Denver Colorado Aids Project (DCAP), a program within the Colorado Health Network. The remaining 10 percent will go to a “spotlight cause,” chosen annually. This year’s spotlight cause theme is “The Resistance,” and all casts, according to vday.org, are encouraged to “[c]onsider producing the play in radical spaces,” “[c]ollaborate with a range of local anti-violence groups” and “[a]mplify and lift up the most marginalized groups and activists in your communities with your productions.” To that end, Spencer and her cast have chosen to sponsor the efforts of local Native American activist Molly Ryan Kills Enemy whose efforts of late have focused on the Dakota Access Pipeline and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW).
To learn more about the Denver production of The Vagina Monologues, visit facebook.com/denvervm. For more about Molly Ryan Kills Enemy, visit danceofthedragonfly.wordpress.com. Tickets for the show are available at eventbrite.com and at the door.
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