This year's run of 'The Vagina Monologues' is an answer to Duterte
MANILA, Philippines – The New Voice Company is set to restage Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues on August 11 and 12 at the Carlos P Romulo Theatre, RCBC Plaza, Makati.
The play, which pushed forward women's issues years back, makes its return in the Philippines at what many would call an interesting time – when the President is a man known for his sexist and misogynist remarks.
At the press conference for the play on Monday, July 30, actress Monique Wilson said the play is their answer to Duterte's attacks on women. (READ: Women can’t stand threats? Netizens tell Duterte to ‘go back to the last century’)
Monique is also the founder and artistic director of New Voice Company and global director for One Billion Rising, an organization dedicated to ending violence against women all over the world.
"We had many successes and many gains but at the same time, we've also seen the heightened escalation of misogyny and sexism. So basically, we are producing the Vagina Monologues now in 2018 really as a direct respond to President Duterte's... like he's the main representation of what misogyny is and [what] sexism looks like," she said.
"And as an artist and activist, we can no longer keep quiet. We've not been doing this a lot of work for a long long time – the women's movement, Vagina Monologues and VDay for 20 years, Gabriela for 35 years, One Billion Rising for 7 years only for us to hear our current president, that includes Trump and other world leaders, normalizing so many forms of violence against women."
Monique says she thinks more people should watch the play in 2018, to push for both awareness and empowerment on the subject.
Aside from Monique, theatre actress Missy Maramara and Mae Paner (aka Juana Change) will take turns reading monologues from the play.
Mae Paner has been a vocal critic of Duterte and his policies. She is also a member of the #BabaeAko movement, which has been criticized by Duterte's daughter, Davao Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
"Meron tayong contexto ngayon na that make The Vagina Monologues very relevant – not that it's not relevant but especially now, our president, his daughter, our ex-president now Speaker of the House, the Marcoses, ang daming mga babae sa kanila pero mga pasaway na babae. Ang mga pasaway na babae kailangan tapatan ng mga babaeng katulad namin," Mae said.
(The context now is what makes The Vagina Monologue very relevant – not that it's not relevant [otherwise] but especially now, our President, his daughter, the former president and now Speaker of the House, the Marcoses... many of them are women but they're not doing what's right. You need women like us to go against women like them.)
Mae, who has been vocal on political and social issues since time immemorial, invited both Duterte-Carpio and House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to watch the play. "Panoorin n'yo ano ang mga sinasabi naming mga babae at matuto kayo mula sa amin. Hindi kayo laging tama. Madalas nga kayo mali eh. So this time, makinig din kayo," she said.
(Watch so you'll see what we're talking about and so you'll learn from us. You're not always right. Often, you're wrong. So this time, listen to us.)
Missy, meanwhile, encouraged the youth — especially the apolitical — to watch the play and better understand what's happening around them.
The play is a series of monologues told by many women. Written by Eve Ensler, it tackls topics such as rape, mutilation, empowerement, and family. A Filipino translation of the play was performed in the past and will be performed during the August run.
The Vagina Monologues also marks the 20th anniversary of VDay in the Philippines. The VDay is a global movement that Eve herself started while doing the Vagina Monologues.
The play is produced by Rossana Abueva, with direction by Thea Tadiar.
Tickets to The Vagina Monologues is available throught TicketWorld.com or through New Voice Company at 896-6695 or 899-0630. – Rappler.com