They say that love is blind, and in some cases it can even be numb. To the one in three women who are subject to domestic violence, V-Day Greensboro says, “Stand up for yourself. Be empowered.”
A non-profit organization, V-Day Greensboro is part of a global movement to end violence against women and girls. By performing Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues, the group hopes to not only raise awareness for domestic abuse, but to donate to the cause of the local Sherri Denese Jackson Foundation, a group that works to stop and prevent domestic violence by offering intervention, boosting women’s self-esteem and raising awareness to the community.
“This is activist theater,” said Devon Currie, organizer. Currie herself is a survivor of an abusive relationship and took the movement to heart after hearing about it from a college professor. “It’s really important to me to make women feel empowered and to create a space where women feel safe to talk about their experiences,” Currie said. “The more that we empower women and the more we talk about women, the more likely it is that these types of situations aren’t going to happen again.”
Currie has helped organize a V-Day Greensboro event for the last three years. “Luckily, I had a lot of experience in theater, so it wasn’t that hard to get the word out to some of my actor friends,” Currie said.
“V-day Greensboro came to us a couple of years ago, and I can only say that in the last three years it has made such a huge difference, not only financially, but also in helping to get the word out about women’s abuse and mutilation both locally and globally,” said Portia Shipman, founder of SDJF. “It sends a great message and has given us more exposure to our cause and has opened many more doors for us.”
Currie notes that the monologues are a powerful, intriguing and humorous expression of what it means to be a woman, and though they are targeted more to females, men will also find them entertaining. “There’s a lot of really funny pieces,” Currie says. “There are some that speak in a really endearing way about the relationship between a man and a woman.”
Currie says auditions to be a volunteer actress are always open to the public.
“It’s interesting because we have a number of women each year who have never done any performing,” Currie said. “It makes it really poignant and really special because these monologues are stories of some specific women, but mostly about being a woman in general. So it’s really nice to get people who aren’t actors to come out and tell these stories.”
This year, about a dozen women, including the founder of SDJF, will perform the monologues.
Shipman said she is both excited and nervous to have a larger role in this year’s event, as she will be performing as one of the women in The Vagina Monologues. “It gives me the opportunity to be more a part of the event and have a more significant role,” Shipman said.
The global campaign, V-Day, began in 1994 after Eve Ensler wrote her award-winning The Vagina Monologues, which addressed women’s sexuality and the social stigma surrounding rape and abuse.
The play was more than just a message or an artful expression, it was a conversation catalyst and it inspired many women in the audience to share with Ensler their own stories of survival. It was on Valentine’s Day in 1998 when Ensler and a group of NYC women established V-Day, a 501(c)3 organization with the mission of putting an end to domestic violence.
To do so, once a year, in February, March and April, Ensler allows groups around the world, such as V-Day Greensboro, to produce a performance of the play with the stipulation that the proceeds go to fund local projects and programs with a similar mission. Ten percent of proceeds will go back to fund V-Day’s global interests, such as building shelters for women in Egypt and Iraq, and sponsoring workshops in Afghanistan.
“It’s almost overwhelming, but it’s incredible at the same time,” Currie said. “It’s so special to be a part of something that is helping women both locally and around the world.”
V-Day Greensboro will present The Vagina Monologues at Glenwood Coffee and Books, 1310 Glenwood Ave., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10, $8 for students and seniors. For tickets call 336.687.1319 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information visit www.vday.org.