“The Vagina Monologues,” a bold demonstration celebrating womanhood and sexuality, will be staged today at 7pm at the American International School/Dhaka in Baridhara. The play was performed earlier on April 25 at the Goethe Institut in the presence of a full auditorium. The cheers and applause from both men and women was a revelation – although talk of “women’s sexuality” is a taboo in our society, it is well appreciated when the issue is addressed.
Eve Ensler’s award winning play “The Vagina Monologues” courageously showcases a number of monologues that were selected from real interviews with more than 200 women from around the world, narrated by female performers. The monologues reveal the feminine experiences of sex, love, rape, genital mutilation and child birth, and the description of female body parts.
A recurring theme throughout the piece is the vagina as a tool of female empowerment, and the ultimate embodiment of individuality. The performers surprise the viewers by uttering vagina in various languages including different Bangla terms which vary regionally.
The episodic play was full of facts and very descriptive in nature. The audience of Goethe Institut responded with enthusiasm to the episode about how a woman fell for a man because he liked looking at her vagina; the ordinary man became Prince Charming after he taught her to appreciate herself as a woman and love her womanly part.
Other episodes urge to speak up “shamelessly” against rape, eve teasing and any sort of sexual harassment as the incidents are shameful for men, not for women. A special episode was added for the benefit of the Bangladeshi audience that addressed the “Birangonas,” the tortured women of the Liberation War. The piece blames the state which has never made any attempt to rehabilitate the war heroines to help them overcome the psychological trauma, though many initiatives have been take for rehabilitation of the wounded war heroes.
In 1998, Ensler and others, including Willa Shalit, a producer of the Westside Theatre production, launched V-Day, a global non-profit movement that has raised over $75m for women's anti-violence groups through profits of “The Vagina Monologues.” In 2010, the play was started in Dhaka, and each year the volunteers try to be bolder in their expressions to push the boundaries further. In the last three years, they have managed to raise over Tk 1m for grassroots organisations working for women’s rights and related issues.