Valentine’s Day 2019 will offer islanders the opportunity to see life through a different lens as a collective of local women eschew paper lace hearts for the more profound perspective of the vagina.
It will be exactly 17 years since The Vagina Monologues was last seen on Salt Spring, with a community-based production opening at ArtSpring on Valentine’s Day 2002. While many things have changed in the world during that time, society still has much to improve on in terms of feminism, equality, freedom from sexual violence and body positivity.
A new production helmed by Loren “Lolo” Hendin and Andrea Thring that comes to ArtSpring on Feb. 14 promises to bring those important themes back to the forefront.
“It really feels like it’s the right time,” said Thring, who directs the play. “There’s a bit of a hunger for it. And obviously with the #MeToo movement, it’s become a new kind of current.”
Playwright and activist Eve Ensler first wrote and performed The Vagina Monologues in 1994. Based on dozens of interviews Ensler conducted with women, the play addressed women’s sexuality and the social stigma surrounding rape and abuse. The play ran off-Broadway for five years in New York before touring the United States.
“The writing is so accessible; I think it’s very easy to step into,” Thring said. “It’s nice to have well-crafted words that are feeling and meaningful and emotional.”
Hendin said the cast has been amazing to watch as they delve into their roles. Some women saw the last local production and have been thinking about it ever since, and all of them are finding a deep experience within themselves.
“It’s really powerful and it stays with you. If you’ve been in it or you’ve witnessed it I think it really makes an impact,” Hendin said, adding she thinks more women and more communities should be putting on the play.
For more on this story, see the Feb. 6, 2019 issue of the Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper, or subscribe online.