The play, which debuted in 1994 in New York City, is a series of live testimonials based on interviews done by Ensler with females of different ages about how they view and feel about the female genital area.
Scientifically, the term vagina refers to the interior part of the female genitals, with the exterior part known as the vulva.
Hailed by The New York Times as “funny” and “poignant” and by the Daily News as “intelligent” and “courageous,” “The Vagina Monologues,” which was first performed off-Broadway by Ensler, dives into the mystery, humor, pain, power, wisdom, outrage and excitement buried in women’s experiences.
Ensler has performed the play to great acclaim throughout the world, from Zagreb to Santa Barbara, from London to Seattle, from Jerusalem to Oklahoma City. Villard Books/Random House first published “The Vagina Monologues,” which includes a foreword by Gloria Steinem, in February 1998. A special edition was released in hard cover and paperback in February 2008 in honor of V-Day’s ten year anniversary.
Ensler’s play has been performed since 1998 throughout the world as a benefit performance on V-Day to bring awareness to the major problem of violence against women.
The show is free and open to the public. Donations are greatly appreciated; all proceeds will benefit local Jersey City non-profit WomenRising, a local Hudson County group that empowers women from crisis to self-sufficiency.
“V-Day is a global movement to stop violence against women and girls, which is exactly what WomenRising is advocating for here in Hudson County.” – Heather Wahl
In a year that violence against women has once against reached national headlines and become part of a conversation about the responsibility of society to help address it, “The Vagina Monologues” appears to take on even more importance.
Each year, thousands of V-Day benefits are held around the world raising funds and awareness towards ending violence against women and girls. These highly successful events have raised millions of dollars through performances of Ensler’s play and related works.
“Speranza is a women’s theatre company and we focus on producing plays that highlight three things: representing the voices of women, bringing light to women’s issues, and featuring female artists,” said director Heather Wahl. “’The Vagina Monologues’ hits all our major points of focus.”
“WomenRising is a Jersey City organization that provides assistance to women and children in need, including emergency shelter, crisis intervention, education, and counseling,” said Wahl. “V-Day is a global movement to stop violence against women and girls, which is exactly what WomenRising is advocating for here in Hudson County.”
Wahl hopes the show will not just entertain, but also inform and enact change.
“The only way to stop the violence is to bring light to the situation and have communities talk about it. It is our hope that these performances will help individuals become aware of what’s happening, possibly closer to them than they realize, and know that there is an organization that is able to help those in need of assistance.”
The V-Day movement has raised over $100 million; educated millions about the issue of violence against women and the efforts to end it; crafted international educational, media and public service announcement campaigns; reopened shelters; and funded over 13,000 community-based anti-violence programs and safe houses in Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Kenya, South Dakota, Egypt, and Iraq.
V-Day has received numerous acknowledgements and awards.
V-Day’s most recent global campaign, One Billion Rising, galvanized over one billion women and men on a global day of action towards ending violence against women and girls.
By creating this global community, V-Day strives to empower women to find their collective voices and demand an end to the violence that affects one in three women in the U.S and around the world.
Al Sullivan may be reached at email@example.com.