‘Vagina Monologues’ returns

KAPA‘A — “If your vagina could say one thing it needs in order to love and support this production, what would it be?”

It was a Wednesday night, and Leah Tamara was helping the cast members of “The Vagina Monologues” voice any apprehensions about the show.

From their seats on the floor, a handful of women discussed their vaginas’ needs. Some needed moral support. Others said they needed to relax.

The group of women burst into laughter when one member said her vagina needed help with ticket sales.

For the next two hours, the group continued to focus its attention on a normally private matter: vaginas.

“It’s always a challenge to get people to know the intention of the show when they hear the title only,” said Tamara, who is directing the monologues. “It’s more than entertainment. Its mission is to end violence against women and children.”

For the fourth time, The YWCA of Kaua‘i presents “The Vagina Monologues.” The show will be performed Friday and Saturday at the Kaua‘i Community College Performing Arts Center.

The monologues cover a range of social, political and emotional issues, including sexuality, abuse and self-image.

Penned by Eve Ensler 16 years ago, the show was created from interviews with 200 hundred women and still resonates with women.

“I saw it in 2001, and it felt life-changing to me,” Tamara said. “I felt like hearing the monologues spoken made me feel better about myself and who I am.”

The monologues are sometimes intense, humorous and emotional. Stories range from a woman who shaves her vagina in the hopes of saving her marriage to a group of ladies who think what their vaginas should wear (a leather jacket, a pink feather boa and something machine washable).

There is something in the show for everyone, Tamara said, and reactions from audience members vary.

“I’ve heard from people who, after seeing the show, they have a feeling of empowerment, a feeling of celebration and discovering information and knowledge of issues going on globally they may have not understood in depth before,”  Tamara said.

The monologues star an all-Kaua‘i cast of women ages 20 to 72, and many of the women involved have never acted in the show before.

“We definitely wanted to have racial, ethnic and cultural diversity in the cast to reflect our diverse community,” Tamara said.

Sharon Vea is participating in the monologues for the first time.

“It’s been frightening, eye-opening, sad and triumphant,” Vea said.

When Lana Olson first saw the monologues presented by the YWCA two years ago, she knew she wanted to be a part of it.

 “The women in the cast each bring a different experience and range to the script,” Olson said. “I’ve learned that vaginas are beautiful,and women are beautiful, strong and need love and care.”

The YWCA chose to perform “The Vagina Monologues” as a vehicle to end violence against women and children and increase knowledge.

“It brings awareness,” said Bethany Compton, stage manager. “It has comedy in it, but it also brings awareness to people who don’t talk about these things and not being ashamed of vaginas.”

In addition to the monologues, there will be guest appearances by KCC counselor Frances Dinnan, Hawaiian studies teacher Sabra Kauka, Per Diem Judge Laurel Loo and Councilmember Nadine Nakamura.

“I love being a part of this play at any level,” Tamara said. “It’s meant to be a tradition, as a social movement to bring awareness to the community.”

The event is a fundraiser for the YWCA, and the show has a PG-13 rating, but all ages are welcome.

Come early to bid on silent auction items, including hotel stays, tours and art pieces, and listen to a pre-show concert with Becca Smith and Iris Downey.

Visit www.ywcakauai.org for more information.

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