Eve Ensler, whose one-person show, The Vagina Monologues, is currently playing a limited engagement at the Westside Theatre, will take part in an "empowerment workshop" at Columbia University Nov. 6. The workshop, to be attended by students from schools across the country as well as London, is part of the upcoming "V-Day" 2000 event, a movement founded in 1998 to end violence against women.
Ensler will spend the day instructing students in how to present The Vagina Monologues on their campus come "V-Day" 2000, set to take place Feb. 14. Afterwards, participants will take in Ensler's Nov. 6, 5 PM, performance of the play.
Vagina reveals a series of different women's stories and experiences involving their genitalia. The piece was born when playwright Ensler realized that her work, mostly about women, was missing a physiological connection. Ensler told PBOL,"I couldn't be thinking about [liberating women] without thinking about vaginas. I wanted to know about what women were feeling about their vaginas. As I talked to women, I was so awed and amazed by what people were telling me that I began to think, 'there's a [theatre] piece here.'"
The show has been floating around for several seasons, popping up here and there. The Vagina Monologues was originally produced in New York at downtown's HERE in 1996. In a benefit to fight domestic violence, Vagina was performed in New York Valentine's Day, 1998, as V Day 1998, starring Hollywood faves Winona Ryder, Glenn Close, Whoopi Goldberg, Goldie Hawn, Calista Flockhart, Kathy Najimy, Rosie Perez, Susan Sarandon, Lois Smith, Phoebe Snow, Gloria Steinem, Marisa Tomei, and Lily Tomlin. It was subsequently performed in London.
The Columbia workshop is co-sponsored by Columbia's School of the Arts, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Self Magazine. For information on the Westside engagement, call (212) 239-6200. Celebrities expected for the opening night performance and party include Winona Ryder, Dylan McDermott, Glenn Close, Gloria Steinmen, Marisa Tomei, Fisher Stevens and Rosie Perez.
-- By Robert Simonson