Sunday, March 15, 2009

What is V-day?*

* contents borrowed liberally from a note on Facebook by Jason D. Riddle, V-day Toronto and V-day*

If you are not in Toronto and want to know what your city is doing for V-DAY events go to: V-day

V-Day is an international UN theatre festival and a global movement to end violence against women and girls that raises funds and awareness through benefit productions of Playwright/Founder Eve Ensler’s award winning play The Vagina Monologues and related artistic works. All proceeds go to various charities that make a tremendous difference in our community and around the world.

Last weekend a group of very talented and dedicated men and women came together in a “A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant, and a Prayer.” Commissioned by V-Day for the first Until The Violence Stops festival which took place in June 2006 in NYC, this is an unabashed and disturbingly beautiful look at violence against women and a shout out to the world to demand an end to it. Inspired, funny, poignant, angry, heartfelt, tragic, and this groundbreaking collection of diverse voices rising up in a collective roar to break open, expose, and examine the insidiousness of brutality, neglect, exploitation or "just a little put-down", together creating a true and profound portrait of this issue's effect on every one of us.

The second show of V-day Toronto 2009 opened last night with the one that started it all, Eve Ensler’s ground-breaking masterpiece “The Vagina Monologues.” A poignant and hilarious tour of the last frontier, the ultimate forbidden zone, this play is a celebration of female sexuality in all its complexity and mystery. Based on interviews with over 200 women about their memories and experiences of sexuality, this stunning phenomenon that has swept the globe gives us real women's deepest fantasies and fears through stories of intimacy, vulnerability, and sexual self-discovery, guaranteeing that no one who reads it will ever look at the female body, ponder the female mind, or think of womanhood in quite the same way again. It is witty and irreverent, compassionate and wise. And GUYS, have no fear: it’s not hard to sit through, it’s funny, heart-warming, powerful, moving and awe-inspiring. This is truly a show for everyone.
THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES more info at V-day Toronto
Saturday March 14, at 7:30 pm and Sunday March 15, at 5:30 pm at The Capitol Theatre

The third show “Any One of Us,” makes its Canadian premiere later this month. Written by female inmates through an outreach program to incarcerated women in major federal prisons, AOOU reveals the connection between women in prison and the violence in their lives that often leads them there. This play is powerful, life changing - and the cast is amazing! (I'm biased because I'm stage managing this one, but IMHO if you can see only one V-day event this year, this is the one you must see.)
ANY ONE OF US: WORDS FROM PRISON more info at V-day Toronto
Saturday March 28, 8:00 pm and Sunday March 29, 5:30pm at The Workman Theatre

This year, 2009, the global spotlight for V-day International is the Congo. The UN recently declared The Democratic Republic of Congo to be the most dangerous place in the world to be a woman. “Voices of the Congo” is being developed right here in Toronto, but due to time constraints the show will be held in the fall of 2009. In the meantime, an educational teach-in called “Congo 101” provides a crucial opportunity to inform and educate ourselves and each other about the circumstances in this region and the western world’s tacit complicity in the brutal atrocities perpetrated against the women who live there.
CONGO 101: The V-Day Teach-In more info at V-day Toronto
Sunday April 19, 10:30am and 1:30pm at the Centre for Social Innovation

The last event, “Strike a Chord, Not a Woman,” is an unplugged benefit concert with several prominent Toronto Musicians, all men, all promoting non-violence against women.
STRIKE A CHORD, NOT A WOMAN, V-Day Benefit Concert more info at V-day Toronto
Sunday April 19, 6:30pm at Trinity-St. Paul's Centre

I don’t think there is a single person out there who has not been affected by the violence committed against women. For the guys who might think this event is not for them, just think about ALL the women in your lives, your mothers, sisters, grandmothers, aunts, cousins, girlfriends, wives, friends and all the other women who have come into your life. There is no way violence against women has not affected you in some way or another. Come help us speak out against the violence, come out and support your mothers, your sisters your lovers, your friends and indeed all women world wide. Come out in solidarity and show your support, be a part of the solution. I guarantee that you will have a new outlook when you leave.

“We must not abide by the violence one miserable person lets loose on another.
We must Shout and Scream until it STOPS!” – from MMRP

“We were worried about vaginas” – from The Vagina Monologues

“I DARE you to be a man of substance” – from Any One of Us

A male actor in the MMRP cast said recently, “I am a Feminist. If you think about it, being a Feminist is the same as being a Humanist. You cannot have Humanity without that which makes Humanity special.”

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