Monday, March 17, 2008
Last Saturday night, it proved quite difficult to applaud this play -- which was a series of monologues, fourteen in all, all culled from the Eve Ensler-edited book, A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant, and a Prayer
. How does one clap after seeing and hearing one harrowing story after another, each one a tale of abuse and more abuse, each one a progression into horror without let-up? There was the Mexican woman dying in a suffocating container van, hoping to cross borders for a better life she will never have. There was the nun stationed in Africa, made to choose between the girls in her school which ones would have to join a rebel unit's children's army -- Sophie's Choice
indeed. There was the cheerleader gangraped by fratmen. There was the corpse of a Muslim woman speaking about the brutality she had endured in life. The only respite was the opening act after the intermission, with the director herself essaying Maya Angelou's "Woman Work" in a comic rendering that showed us how the "gentle half" carries out more than a load of this world. But director Dessa Quesada-Palm did
warn us in her director's notes, though: "To invite you to sit down and relax will be inappropriate and misleading. My prayer is for collective senses awakened, hearts stirred, spirits lifted, and plates for future action enlarged." Point well taken, but I left the theater feeling downcast, ravaged even. All in the name of social consciousness. The price we pay, perhaps, for doing something for the world.
This is an important play. But sometimes I do miss the light-hearted side of The Vagina Monologues
, the original piece that started this all. I actually think TVM
made its point more powerfully because it engaged us in all our human responses, from shock to laughter to outrage to anger to hysteria to bliss to laughter again. With The Good Body
, and now this, I guess Eve Ensler has decided that the movement needs to go deeper into all the permutations of despair still left unchecked even after 10 years of VDay. The battle goes on, and as in any war, I guess we need to contend with the wounds and the scars.
Labels: art and culture, dumaguete, gender, issues, silliman, theater
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