The Vagina Monologues Local Performance Draws Attention to Women’s Universal Causes
by Robert Kimmel –
Highlighting a revitalized crusade to bring attention to the abusive treatment of women, V-Day Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow 2019 is presenting a local performance of The Vagina Monologues. The show, with a cast of women from the region, will be staged at Tarrytown Music Hall, February 13, at 7 p.m.
This heralded play, written in 1996 by Eve Ensler, who originally played all the roles off-Broadway, consists of a series of monologues by different women describing how they dealt with a variety of sexually related experiences. Originally written as a celebration of femininity by Ensler, the play then became a symbol for the world-wide V-Day activists’ movement aimed at halting violence against women and girls.
V-Day Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow 2019 is the local unit of volunteers dedicated to furthering awareness of its cause by producing the play and other events which also raise money for organizations that serve women and strive to end domestic violence.
This month’s appearance of The Vagina Monologues marks the second time it was produced by the V-Day Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow 2019 group. Its first appearance was in 2012.
While the original version was written for a cast of 26 people, there will be 36 people in the February 2019 play, according to Gina Lamparella, a co-director of the production. “We try to keep it flexible so that we can include more people because we have a lot of people interested, and it’s hard to say ‘no’ to those who want to participate,” she explained. “Most in the cast are not actresses, but there will be several professional performers in the play,” she said.
Lamparella directed the 2012 show as well as a performance in Florence, Italy, with a bilingual group. She is an actress and has performed in eight Broadway musicals and toured nationally.
“The first time I was asked to do it I didn’t know much about it, but it truly can be an amazing experience to be involved in, and it really does bring attention to the situation of being a woman and all that entails including the bad and the ugly,” Lamparella related. “A lot of people think we are going backwards over the past couple of years in how women are treated, and so I felt we needed to do the show again.”
Co-directing the show is Sleepy Hollow resident Nancy Puleo, also a Broadway actress, whose stage name is Nancy St. Alban. She has appeared on TV’s “Guiding Light,” the film Breaking Point, as well as a number of theater productions, including Chicago and Kiss Me Kate, as well as some 30 commercials.
About 70 percent of the women involved in the 2012 event are returning to participate in this month’s show, according to Tracy Brown, who, with Ann Nielsen, is a co-producer of the activities. “We got together, drawn by how things were going in this present political climate, and believed it was time to repeat the performance, and this time we would do it in a bigger venue,” Brown remarked.
Part of the reason there was a 100-volunteer turnout, Brown believed, was the people “who had seen the play in 2012 and were inspired by being in the audience and wanted to get more involved this time. We didn’t have to shake the tree very hard to get people to come out to audition and help. The V-Day group is deeply committed to this cause,” Brown said.
Co-producer Neilsen stated, “Today’s frightening climate of racism, misogyny, and xenophobia magnifies the need for all communities, especially communities of color, to take a vocal and powerful stand.”
Brown noted that 90 percent of the event’s proceeds “goes to organizations that address issues of violence against women and girls, and 10 percent of everything we raise goes back to the V-Day Foundation. Our goal, with public support, is to make substantial and beneficial donations to Hope’s Door and My Sisters’ Place by March 1, 2019.”
Hope’s Door, headquartered in Hawthorne, with units in Ossining and White Plains, “seeks to end domestic violence and to empower victims to achieve safety, independence and healing from the trauma of abuse.”
With an administrative office in White Plains, My Sisters’ Place operates throughout Westchester, “to end domestic violence and human trafficking through comprehensive services, advocacy, and community education.”
The 2012 performance of The Vagina Monologues brought in $14,000, and another $10,000 was provided by an anonymous donor, according to Kimberly Marcus, a member of the Planning Committee and a participant in that year’s event. This month’s show at the Tarrytown Music Hall will be followed by a party at which several celebrities and political figures are expected to attend. Show tickets can be purchased at www.tarrytownmusichall.org.
Open to all will be an event on Saturday, March 2, consisting of marches through Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow culminating at Patriot’s Park where there will be, “an open interactive dance choreographed and performed by students and organizers.” It is a celebration of One Billion Rising, a global event calling for the end of violence towards women and girls. Gatherings by V-Day Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow 2019 will initially take place at 3 p.m. in Neperan Park in Tarrytown and the Morse School in Sleepy Hollow and proceed to Patriot’s Park at 3:30 p.m. An instructional video about the dance can be found online at
https://www.facebook.com/VDayTarrytownSleepyHollow/. Rain date for the event is March 3.