Women speak out through Monologues
So, when the show was first done downtown, guys would call up and say: Can I have tickets to The Vagina Dialogues? And women would call up and say: Can I have tickets to The Monologues? I’ve heard people call it The Viagra Chronicles. And there was this punk ticket taker, and she would say: Listen, if you can’t say the name, you can’t come. Now, try again, try again.
— The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler
People in Kamloops aren’t having trouble with the name, however, and tickets are moving well for the three-night run of the play that has, on occasion, led to controversy.
For example, in 2007, three students in New York were suspended for reading excerpts of the play during a literary event.
The principal explained he did so because he had told the students the excerpt would be improper for young children, who might be in the audience, to hear.
In 2008, the Seattle Times refused to run an ad promoting the play, citing the graphic nature of a heart-shaped image being used to promote it.
Last year, flyers promoting the show in Summerland were torn down.
In Kamloops, however, the play has been performed for years with little reaction.
“Not really,” McLean said of local reaction.
“I’ve heard of some people who were offended by a certain monologue or another, but they are meant to be heard without judgment, as they are real true experiences had by women.”
The one reaction she has seen in recent years is sold-out audiences, leading organizers to expand it from one night to three.
Rebecca McLean has produced the play for the past two years and will again be doing so when it opens on Feb. 23 at the Kamloops Convention Centre.
Through the Dames Investing in Social Harmony group, which sponsors it, the run not only supports the annual charity designated by Ensler — this year, it’s women and children in Haiti — but also provides money for local charities.
Last year, the Kamloops run led to more than $20,000 being donated to organizations in the city.
This year, the beneficiaries will be the Family Tree Drop-in Centre, Emerald House and the YMCA-YWCA’s program for children who witness abuse.
Ensler has some specific rules for anyone staging the play and one of the biggest is that anyone who wants to be involved must be accepted.
That means a large cast for McLean, who said there are 32 women who will read the vignettes, including a grandmother-granddaughter duo.
Another estimated 40 will work as volunteers.
“Everybody wants to be a part of the ` thing,” McLean said.
One of the key components takes place in the lobby, McLean said, where there will be plenty of merchandise on sale, all vagina-themed, ranging from T-shirts to chocolates to hand mirrors.
Even the cast party is being turned into a fundraiser.
Unlike most cast parties that wrap a production, this one will be held on March 15 at The Blue Grotto, 319 Victoria St., at 7 p.m.
It’s open to the public for $5 — cast members and volunteers get in free — and will feature another Ensler project, readings from A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer, an anthology of writings about violence against women.
Eight men will do those readings and money raised will go to the SHOP program run the AIDS Society of Kamloops.
Tickets for The Vagina Monologues are $20 for theatre seating and $25 for table seating.
Tables are available for groups of four, five or six and must be bought at one time.
Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show begins at 7 p.m.
In addition to the merchandise tables, there will be silent auction items available and a cash bar.
Tickets are available at the Kamloops Live Box Office, 1025 Lorne St., 250-374-5483, kamloops