V-Day Monologues to Combat Violence Against Women


Jakatae Jessup performs an excerpt from "The Vagina Monologues."
  • Jakatae Jessup performs an excerpt from "The Vagina Monologues."

Local women will share real-life stories of happiness, heartbreak, and hardship during the fifth annual presentation of Memphis Monologues this Saturday.

Inspired by Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues, a stage play that highlights various female experiences ranging from birth to rape to menstruation, Memphis Monologues will put a localized spin on the production. Instead of revisiting stories from the play, ladies will share their own accounts of life as a woman in the Bluff City. 

Memphis Monologues
will be the first of three productions presented locally to celebrate V-Day, an international movement dedicated to ending violence against women and girls. Each February, groups worldwide reenact Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues, along with other plays promoting female empowerment, to raise money for projects and programs that combat violence.

Money raised locally will benefit Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region (PPGMR), specifically funding its women’s healthcare services. Among the resources offered to women by PPGMR are wellness exams, contraception, and sex education. 

Already sold out, Memphis Monologues will take place Saturday, February 6th at Amurica Studios (410 North Cleveland). It begins at 7 p.m.

Although the local production is influenced by The Vagina Monologues, PPGMR's Aimee Lewis assures the presentations are not solely for women’s enjoyment nor centered on sex.

“It’s real Memphis women telling their story and it’s been phenomenal,” said Lewis, vice-president of external affairs for PPGMR. “The ladies are asked to speak to what their experience is as a woman. So, we’ve had women talk about difficulty breastfeeding, what it’s like to be a woman working in a male-dominated field, the experience of pregnancy or not being able to become pregnant, and things like that. The subjects aren’t always as taboo as they might be in The Vagina Monologues.”

Ladies slated to grace the stage this year include Deidre Malone, Chloe Evans O’Hearn, Holly Whitfield, Christine Davenport, Leah Keys, Adriane Williams and Gale Jones Carson.

Next Thursday, locals will act out excerpts from A memory, A monologue, A rant and A Prayer, a collection of essays addressing violence against women from various aspects. Maya Angelou, Jane Fonda, Slavenka Drakulic, Michael Eric Dyson, Edward Albee, and Michael Cunningham are amid the book's contributors. 

The event will take place Thursday, February 12th, at the Circuit Playhouse (51 Cooper St.). It starts at 7:30 p.m. 

The last gathering of V-day will be for the reenactment of The Vagina Monologues.

On Friday, February 13th, the first installment of the play will be presented at the Circuit Playhouse. It begins at 7:30 p.m. 

A matinee performance will be provided on Saturday, February 14th. It starts at 2 p.m.   

“It speaks to the female experience, everything from coming of age, puberty, child birth … it runs the gamut,” Lewis said. “To be a woman and sit there and hear other women speak about things that have touched me in some way and really see that things I may have thought or issues I may have had now have a voice, it’s a very moving and empowering experience. It gives us a wonderful, deeper perspective on what each one of us is going through.”

Since V-day's emergence over a decide ago, it's helped raise more than $100 million to fund resources that aid girls and women impacted by violence worldwide.

More than $15,000 was raised in Memphis last year from both Memphis Monologues and The Vagina Monologues. Ten percent of the funds raised locally each year are contributed to V-Day's movement.

For ticket information on the forthcoming V-Day events, click here.

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