By ALESHA CADET
Tribune Features Reporter
FOR the second consecutive year, the Bahamas Artist Movement’s (BAM) presentation of The Vagina Monologues delivered a sold-out show and exceeded organisers’ expectations.
Performed in two shows at the British Colonial Hilton last weekend, the stories shared made people laugh as well as contemplate more serious issues such as abuse and genital mutilation.
Hailed by the New York Times as “funny and poignant” and by the Daily News as “intelligent and courageous”, “The Vagina Monologues” is an episodic play by Eve Ensler, a Tony Award-winning playwright, performer, and activist.
It was first performed Off-Broadway nearly two decades ago and dives into “the mystery, humour, pain, power, wisdom, outrage and excitement buried in a woman’s experience.”
The play, which has been translated into over 48 languages and performed in over 140 countries, also launched ‘V-Day’, a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls.
This year marked the second time in the 14-year-history of the movement that the Bahamas has participated.
Artistic director, local V-Day coordinator and BAM founder Rowena Poitier said she was very pleased in regards to the number of people who came out on Saturday night as well as to the encore performance on Sunday to show their support.
The show is made up of a varying number of monologues read by a varying number of women. Each of the monologues deals with an aspect of the feminine experience. A recurring theme throughout the piece is the vagina as a tool of female empowerment and the ultimate embodiment of individuality.
Both women and men (V-Men and V-Women) volunteered their time and talents to make the event happen.
“I am overjoyed that the event is expanding and that is exactly what my vision is for BAM, because this is so much bigger than just a show, it is a movement. BAM is about supporting causes and starting conversations, and changing the social landscape of what is going on for the better,” said Rowena.
Proceeds from the show, she said, will benefit the Bahamas Crisis Centre. Rowena said it is important to get the word out there so that they can raise more funds for the cause.
“I am looking forward to it growing even more rapidly and successfully for V-Men and V-Women to rise and make a difference,” she said.
“Last year, the show exceeded my expectations; this year it did so again. I never think it is going to be as big as it is and then it becomes it’s own life form. Friday (the pre-event) was completely packed and today it was just about there, but people still donated the funds,” said Rowena.
Rowena herself said she enjoyed the comical as well as the genuinely sincere monologues.
“Last year, and this year I think, the monologue that really stuck with me was, “My Vagina Is My Village”. It was about a woman who was raped as a systematic tactic of war. That story really moves me and I think that the cast has done such a phenomenal job with bringing these stories to life,” said Rowena.
Rukenya Nash, a Vagina Monologue actress, said the experience was a very memorable one for her.
“(My monologue) is very much the experience of a young woman that was not very favourable, however she kind of redeemed herself through an intimate happening with an older woman – though in the eyes of many it may seem like molestation, which it basically was. However, based on such tragic happenings prior, it was uplifting for her because she was able to experience something more positive about her vagina rather than so much torture,” she said.
Rukenya said events like the Vagina Monologues are very much needed in the country. She said the messages are powerful, positive, and the reality is that Bahamas is in need of more of these types of movements to bring awareness to many who may not have a voice.
“There is healing in our stories, and stories are meant for us to listen. It doesn’t require us to do anything but listen and that is a very important key in all this,” said Rukenya.
Myra McPhee, another Vagina Monologue actress, told Tribune Entertainment that she joined the team because she really wanted to fellowship with women and help them to support each other.
“I did the introduction scene and then I did the scene about the woman who loved women and moaning. It made me feel really empowered to play a part in this show today because I think it is really important for us to tell each other’s stories and get different perspectives out there,” Myra said.
“Some of the scenes were really personal and really moving, especially the one about female mutilation and circumcision. It is difficult to hear that and I often would step out when that was being rehearsed because it really takes a toll on a person. Other topics were lighter and funnier, but when you hear these stories and know that a real person told it, it really does touch you.”