In a benefit to fight breast cancer, Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues was performed this past Valentine's Day 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. For 1999, V: The College Initiative will have Ensler's Monologues performed at colleges and universities all across the country.
Schools scheduled to participate in the event to end violence against women, include: Arizona State University, Bates College, Bennington College, Bowdoin College, Brown University, Clark University, Connecticut College, Cornell University, Emory University, Hampshire College, Marist College, Miami University, Middlebury College, Mills College, Mount Holyoke College, San Francisco State University, Syracuse University, University of California -- Santa Cruz, University of Illinois -- Urbana Champaign, University of Maryland, University of Southern Maine, University of Washington, University of Wisconsin -- Madison, Williams College.
V-Day 1999 will also be celebrated in Great Britain, with a gathering of British actresses at London's Old Vic reading selections from Monologues. No names have been announced.
Ensler's Monologue 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.'"
Ensler told PBOL, "The reaction to it has been really positive and not in a typical way. People have responded personally to it. They examine issues. When I traveled we did Q & A's afterwards, it amazed me how vulnerable people were willing to be. People have been really fantastic." V-Day 1999 will be celebrated on February 14, for more information visit the V-Day website at V-Day 1999.
-- By Sean McGrath