Local Vibes
December 3, 2004
The Vagina Monologues reaches the Attic

VAGINA. The word is taboo for us. We avoid talking about vaginas; we avoid having conversations about vaginas. In our society, vaginas are kept under heavy wraps – both literally and figuratively. It is that part of a woman’s body that is ignored in polite society. Men scratch, adjust, and basically spend much time focusing “down there”. Women are taught not to. They are taught to keep “down there” secret.{{more}}

Fed up with the constant maligning and fear of vaginas, Eve Ensler, award- winning writer and researcher, interviewed over 200 women to find out their thoughts and feelings on their own, special body part. These interviews blossomed into a 15-monologue, spoken word play about – you guessed it – the vagina. The Vagina Monologues was born. This “play” (I use the word loosely since, as the title suggests, it is really a collection of monologues), has been performed in countless countries to rave reviews. Both women and men go away with a little more understanding about the relationship that women all over the world have with their vagina. I took my parents to see a production of The Vagina Monologues in London. They thought it was excellent.

Now, for the first time, Ensler’s masterpiece is being performed in St. Vincent by a solely Caribbean cast of actresses. Heading up the cast is Guyanese-born Collette Jones. Jones has lived in St. Vincent for six years but has been involved in drama her whole life. She is an award-winning actress, director, set designer and writer; winning awards not only in Guyana, but also in our own Community Drama Festival.

She is a teacher, a writer (of both plays and poetry), a set designer, an interior decorator, an artist, an actress and a director. Many hats for one person – but Jones wears each one with a flourish and with great talent. Not only is Jones acting in The Vagina Monologues, she is also directing the version to be performed here.

Other cast members include Grace Peters and Shanda Sandy – both Vincentians and both teachers; Vincentians Cheryl Johnson – a social worker – and Lafayette James (well-known actress); Kijah Gani – a journalist; and our beloved calypsonian – Aloma “Fatty Dan” Cadougan. These six women, along with Collette Jones, have come together to bring the Vincentian public their interpretation of Ensler’s Monologues.

The production will be staged at The Attic in Kingstown on Friday, 03 December, with a second performance on Saturday, 04 December. Tickets are $25 each, available from the actresses, and show time on both nights is 8 p.m. sharp. I urge everyone to come out and see this extraordinary celebration of women’s lives, loves, losses, and most of all, their vaginas.