VAGINA MONOLOGUES’ OPENS THURSDAY ON MARATHON STAGE

“Vagina Monologues,” a series of monologues performed by local actresses, will debut on Thursday, Jan. 7 at Marathon Community Theatre. 

Jackie O’Neil is the director.

“I think it’s very empowering for women because it has the power to change the way women feel about themselves,” she said. “The monologues are based on interviews with women recounting real experiences. It makes women realize that they are not alone, and they learn how others handle what happened to them. A few of the monologues are horrific. And then another one will come along and it will be funny, but still have meaning.”

O’Neil admits she’s a bit nervous about directing this production. 

“Usually, I’m involved with comedies. This is way out of my comfort zone,” O’Neil said.

The pieces will be performed by Diane Dashevsky, Charla Garrison, Trish Hintze, Terry Israel, Michele Licause, Donna Nussenblatt, Jennifer Powell, Marilyn Tempest, Cheryl Wilcox and Joanne Zimmerman.

“Vagina Monologues” author Eve Ensler introduces a wildly divergent gathering of female voices, including a 6-year-old girl, a septuagenarian New Yorker, a vagina workshop participant, a woman who witnessed her best friend give birth, a Bosnian survivor of rape, and a feminist happy to have found a man who “liked to look at it.” The show deals with multiple aspects of the feminine experience, touching on subjects such as sex, body image, love, rape, menstruation, masturbation, birth, orgasm and the various alternate “common” names for the vagina. A recurring theme is the vagina as a tool of female empowerment, and the ultimate embodiment of individuality. Please note: “The Vagina Monologues” contains adult language and themes and is for mature audiences only. 

More than 30 years old, the show has been performed thousands of times in theaters around the world. Originally created to “celebrate the vagina,” it has become the forefront of a movement to stop violence against women called “V-Day” that is also a non-profit organization that has raised $100 million. Ensler has received numerous awards for her contributions to the arts and entertainment world, as well as raising awareness for women’s health and safety. 

“Vagina Monologues” is suited for pandemic conditions. The women rehearsed independently with the director, and only met twice for a group rehearsal. The cast and crew wear masks backstage until it’s their turn on stage. The audience is seated by group at about 50% capacity, with empty seats between each group. 

The show will be performed as a reading on Marathon Community Theatre’s main stage. It opens on Thursday, Jan. 7 and runs through Sunday, Jan. 23. Evening shows with an 8 p.m. curtain are performed Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings and there will be a matinee on Sunday, Jan. 17 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $25 each before sales tax and ticket fees. Buy tickets online at www.marathontheater.org or call the box office at 305-743-0994. 

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