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04. March 2007

actors on stage

The actors on stage at the Kosmos Theater

If your vagina could talk, what would it say?

V-Day Vienna 2007 & vienna theatre project presented the Vagina Monologues (March 2nd + 3rd, Kosmos Theater)

Marking Vienna officially as a Vagina Friendly City, Austria joined Eve Ensler’s V-Day initiative and more than 80 countries world wide to stage a benefit performance of the playwright’s acclaimed Vagina Monologues raising funds and awareness to end violence against women and girls.

The vienna theatre project (vtp) brilliantly enlivened the Broadway hit with a team of 30 women actresses, singers, directors and managers for two sell-out evenings of laughter and reflection. No angle was left untouched, as the stories ribboned themes from hair to short skirts, from rape to birth and of course: moaning!

The proceeds will be donated to local anti-violence organizations: “This is where theatre comes in: entertaining and educating” says Sarah Hayes, the young co-director/actress of vtp. We are very grateful to the vienna theatre project for choosing to support Women without Borders.

We forget the vagina — what else would explain our lack of awe, our lack of reverence?

The monologues are based on interviews with 200 women from 6 years old to 75, about their vaginas. The witty, intimate and even outrageous voices on stage really give new freedom for audiences to laugh, to think and talk about their own nether-region experiences more openly.

I believe in the power and mystery of naming things. Think about the word vagina.” Says Ensler on her website, “I believe that by saying it 128 times each show, night after night…. a door was opening, an energy exploding, a story unravelling.”

Indeed both women and the “vaginally-challenged”, men, could be heard earnestly discussing the play afterwards, in the foyer exhibition celebrating female artists. Organised by the vienna theatre project exclusively for the V-day shows, the display featured the works of home grown artists such as Ruth Brauer as well as female refugees and asylum seekers, rebuilding their lives in Vienna.

V-Day 2007: what happened to Peace?

This year V-Day is focusing on women in conflict zones, on women in the midst of war or in the aftermath of it. The closing monologue reminds us:

When we think of war, we do not think of women, because the work of survival, of restoration, is not glamorous work. After war, men are often shattered, unable to function. Women not only work, but they create peace networks, find ways to bring about healing. They pick up the pieces although they usually haven't fired a gun.”

Women can be powerful agents preventing and ending conflicts too. By connecting the right minds and the right spirits in a new network of female diplomacy, we can play new roles, lobby for new methods and alternative visions. We do this already but to achieve significance in world affairs we need more visibility. J As the vtp co-director/actress Joanna Godwin-Seidl’s character entreats: “We can confront the seemingly impossible”.

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