Yeah, I get to say that word a lot this post, and you bet I’m taking advantage of it. And it’s all thanks to this war crimes lawyer I went to school with!
Lemme ‘splain. Last year I had a series of acting classes at the OSSD under the instruction of big cheese Brie Barker (sorry I missed you in THE WALK, coach! Hope you busted some legs!), and one of my fellow students was the loverly Julie Greenspoon, a sometime actor at the Ottawa Little Theatre who in her spare time travels the world busting war criminals, because that’s how she rolls, dig? Anyhow, I heard from Ms G recently that she’d gotten cast in an upcoming production of THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES, Eve Ensler’s phenomenon play of Vaginal empowerment, and ya know I was good and ready to check it out. As a typical dopey male, I had never ever seen the Vaginalogues, and this seemed like the perfect excuse to correct that mistake. So, in spite of Winter’s high-spirited efforts at a late-in-the-game comeback, I trudged thru the snowy streets to the Bronson Centre (hadn’t set foot there since Henry Rollins last hit town…good times), where the event was taking place.
The performance would double as a fundraising show to benefit The Sexual Assault Support Centre of Ottawa (SASC) and the Minwaashin Lodge Aboriginal Woman’s Support Centre, two rocking good causes if ever I’ve heard of ’em, and featured a large and enthusiastic cast of wimmin from all walks, dispositions, and varieties of life. And I’m happy to say, now that the show is over, that it turns out I’m a pretty big fan of Vaginal monologizing!
Based on hundreds of Vagina-centric interviews Ensler conducted, the play is broken down into a dozen or so pieces (and even tho they’re called monologues, the scenes are frequently shared by two or more performers, which is just fine) ranging from the adorable (like Stephanie Monette as a 6-year old interviewee) to the horrific (as in Nasim Mahin’s heartbreaking retelling of a brutal wartime rape). And okay, many of the ladies on stage are NOT professional actors, as the message and the cause are really the stars of this ‘V-Day’ enterprise. But that just makes some of the wonderful work on stage that much more exciting, for me anyhow. Aside from the wonderful Julie Greenspoon’s short’n’sweet love affair with the much maligned C-word (and okay, I’m biased. Whatever, she ROCKED.), a few other standouts were: Yamikani Msosa’s powerful WHAT IF I TOLD YOU I DON’T HAVE A VAGINA; Reem Girgrah and Kimberly Lovell, bringing the house down with live renditions of every moan ever moaned; Hazel Hutton and Julie Cameron making some positively outstanding theatrical magic in THE VAGINA WORKSHOP; Stephanie Marhue’s well-reasoned argument in favour of a little hair down there; Kristan Miller and the sad then sexy tale of the Coochi Snorcher…I could go on. I probably SHOULD go on…the gals killed it, and no fooling.
But, even I gotta sleep sometime. THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES plays again at 8pm tomorrow night at Bronson Centre, and they damn near packed the house tonight. If you want to go (you do), I’d start planning for it NOW. It’s a great cause, and a great show to go with it. Peace, love and soul, ladies,
The Visitor (and Winston)