Tuesday, February 26, 2013

V-Day and One Billion Rising

I have never been too caught up in Valentine's Day traditions; however, this February 14 I was enmeshed in a community of progressive women to carry-out a very different expression of V-Day.  This year we celebrated V-Day, as in Vagina Day, to support the One Billion Rising global action to end violence against women and children.  I was asked by the Vagina Monologue coordinators at Silliman University (the oldest university in Dumaguete), after they had met me at the Christmas party and night with Eve Ensler, to perform one of the monologues for this year's show.

Rehearsals began in January, where I was coached by two directors twice a week to prepare a small, but powerful monologue, titled "Reclaiming Cunt".  This was the first time to be involved in this type of high level stage performance.  It was tiring and frustrating at times to memorize my lines.  "Reclaiming Cunt" is an energetic and sensual monologue that tries to convince the audience that this pejorative word is worth reclaiming. After several intense weeks of practicing the lines and trying to hit the words just right to satisfy the director's vision of the piece, 17 women performed their piece in front of a full house on Valentine's Day at Silliman's Luce 700 seat auditorium.  To shake off the nerves, I kept with me the director's motivating words that "we are activists first and actors second".  And as the bright spot lights turned on me that night, I reclaimed cunt and motivated the entire audience to say it with me.  My performance was more charged than all the previous practice performances, remembering the primary reason why I was on that stage to stand in solidarity and speak out against violence towards women and children.

This was the best Valentine's Day ever!  I met so many wonderful Filipina women and felt a part of a very progressive and vibrant community.  I am so honored to have had this opportunity to be an example on stage and to share in this very important global issue.  I learned later, that the One Billion Rising mob dance in the Philippines was one of the largest dance gatherings that took place all over the world on V-Day.  I was part of this energy, and I keep witnessing the passion for dance and performance here in the Philippines.    

Link to the Dumaguete One Billion Rising Mob Dance
Link to my performance of "Reclaiming Cunt" (coming soon)

Poster created for the Vagina Monologues.  This was the 11th show to perform at Silliman University and the first in conjunction with the One Billion Rising benefit. - poster created by Ian Casocot

Raising my "ONE" in solidarity for the One Billion Rising benefit. - Photo by Benzi Florendo

  Performing, "Reclaiming Cunt" - Photos by Hersley-Ven Casero

The Vagina Monologues cast and crew post performance, with Bais City Mayor Karen Villanueva and guest support speakers - Group Photo by Benzi Florendo

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