Women’s funny parts 

The Vagina Monologues promotes awareness, fundraising and humour in both Whistler and Brackendale

click to enlarge Women Give Voice to Their Gender Sea to Sky actresses come together to raise funds and awareness to help combat violence against women in the theatre production of the Vagina Monologues.
  • Women Give Voice to Their Gender Sea to Sky actresses come together to raise funds and awareness to help combat violence against women in the theatre production of the Vagina Monologues.

What: The Vagina Monologues

When: Saturday, Mar. 8, 7 p.m.

Where: MY Millennium Place

Tickets: $39

It’s time to talk about the vertical smile. You know… the snappin’ pussy, pink taco, or the Great Divide. Some call it the Leave it to Beaver, the poontang or hair pie.

However, women across the world, in more than 120 countries, will be simply calling it the vagina on V-Day – and this vagina has a lot to say with the production of The Vagina Monologues staging itself as part of a global movement to stop violence against women.

“We are getting some strange reactions,” said local event producer Wanda Groetelaars of the production’s name. “Yes, it’s called The Vagina Monologues and it’s about creating dialogue and awareness.”

This will be the 10th anniversary of the production being staged as part of V-Day in more than 120 countries. The event has raised more than $50 million for grassroots programs that speak out against violence against women, and provide shelters and crisis centres all over the world. The production of The Vagina Monologues staged Friday, Mar. 7 at the Brackendale Art Gallery as well as Saturday, Mar. 8 at MY Millennium Place in Whistler will benefit the Howe Sound Women’s Centre in Squamish and the Katrina Warriors in New Orleans.

“The Howe Sound Women’s Centre has not had provincial funding since 2003 and relies greatly on community funding and support,” Groetelaars said. “This benefit will help ensure our doors stay open as we serve on average 5,000 women and children each year in the Sea to Sky Corridor.”

Each one of those women has their own story and The Vagina Monologues helps puts the spotlight on a few of those universal tales that shed light on what it means to be a female.

Every monologue relates to the vagina whether through sex, love, rape, mutilation, menstruation, orgasm, birth or masturbation. A few monologue titles include My Angry Vagina, The Little Coochie Snorcher That Could and Because He Liked to Look at It.

Humour and drama probe at issues that affect women around the world. Writer Eve Ensler, who interviewed 200 women on their views about sex, relationships and violence against women for the play, believed sexuality and female empowerment were intimately connected. The play began staging itself Off-Broadway in New York, featuring actresses such as Melissa Etheridge and Whoopi Goldberg, and it wasn’t long before the rest of the world got exposed to the between-legs production with V-Day, which stands for Valentine, Vagina and Victory.

Actress Heather Paul prefers to refer to the V-word as her hairy marmot –such a proud Whistler patriot.

However, the Whistler actor and director is going even more south for her performance by playing the Coochie Snorcher monologue as a black southern woman.

As you can imagine, she isn’t able to practice her accent and lines at work out of fear of sexual harassment charges. The head of the Between Shifts Theatre Company in Whistler last stole the show as “Bottom’s girlfriend” and Wall in the Whistler Theatre Project’s production of a Midsummer Night’s Dream last summer.

She joins a seasoned cast of veteran actresses including Susan Hutchinson from Pemberton as well as Carla Fuhre, Kathy Daniels, Maureen Mackell, Deanna Enders and Patricia Heintzman (a Squamish councillor) from Squamish.

The way the production was mounted is as liberating as the script itself. There was no director, only group rehearsals were held where all of the women collaborated to help each actress with their monologue.

“It’s definitely a bonding experience with all of these women,” Paul said. “It’s speaks to the spirit of the way in which this work was intended – women working together. This play is about better understanding me and you and better understanding the woman next door… We can put a man on the moon, but we can’t stop violence against women. It’s about raising awareness and speaking to issues of rape and violence and we are talking about our hairy marmots, so there are definitely funny parts to it as well.”

Advance $20 tickets for the Brackendale show are available at the Howe Sound Women’s Centre, the Brackendale Art Gallery and Mostly Books in Squamish.

The Whistler show staged on International Women’s Day includes an opening gala with drinks, appetizers and a silent auction. Advance $39 tickets are on sale at www.myplacewhistler.org or www.ticketmaster.ca.


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