The 2009 winter benefit production of The Vagina Monologues brought entertainment and awareness to sold out performances while raising more than $2,000 for the Tennessee Coalition against domestic and sexual violence.This is the sixth year that Tech Players have participated in V-Day, a global movement to end violence against women and girls. The Backdoor playhouse presented three nightly showings beginning on Feb. 12. Each show concluded with an open public forum in which members from the cast and audience shared their thoughts on the production and the importance of women’s issues.
Mark Creter, director of the Backdoor Playhouse, commented on the controversy of the production during Saturday night’s public forum; however, he affirmed, “we need this show.”
Attendance for all three performances was sizable. Even with the addition of folding chairs, many people were turned away at the door.
The Women’s Center and the Tech Players will host the showing of the documentary, When the Violence Stops, at the Backdoor Playhouse on Feb. 27 at 7p.m.
The Vagina Monologues is a collection of pieces that tactfully illustrate the everyday tribulations of women through the use of comedy and sheds light on serious human rights violation against women through often tearful dramatization. The audience actively participated in the performance through laughter, responding to the cues of the actresses, and even playfully moaning at one point. This year’s production featured new monologues discussing women’s rights in Iraq and in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. Dance was also infused throughout the performance incorporating ballet, jazz and interpretative.
Many involved in this production as an actor, dancer, or audience member felt that this production was more of a milestone than just a show. One man commented during the public forum that as a single father, he felt this was the best way to present these facts of life to his daughter.
As others in the audience gave personal testaments about domestic abuse and medical misgivings, actress Lillian Crouse agreed saying, “So I feel like being in this production is a move in the right direction for me and my family [in terms of being better educated on the subject and helping take a stand].”
Benefit performances of The Vagina Monologues are classified on the V-day website as a tool for educating, fundraising and advocating political and cultural change to stop violence against women. The official website also states that $40 million has been collectively raised through the V-day movement.
“Speaking publicly breaks the silence, opening the opportunity for action and change.