West African writer-performer SiaAmma explores the disturbing topic of female genital mutilation in her solo show, In Search of My Clitoris, for three performances April 17-19 at the Peter Norton Symphony Space on 42nd Street.
In subject, the show is a kind of sister work to Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues about women's feelings about their genitalia and how cultural pressures lead to issues of shame, ignorance or denial. Violence against women is an overriding theme in SiaAmma's show.
The work is based on her own experiences and the experiences of other West African women subjected to the ritual of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), known as female circumcision. Through monologues, movement, drumming and humor, In Search of My Clitoris "invites audiences to celebrate themselves, while keeping an eye out for what they have lost." Joya Cory and Felicia Faulkner direct the work.
According to production notes, "In In Search of My Clitoris, SiaAmma takes us on a journey halfway around the world and back in search of her most precious possession, taken from her when she was a young girl. Coming to the United States, she searches for wholeness in the Promised Land of psychotherapy and plastic surgery hoping for a fix and finding none. Mining the cultural divide between the two worlds of America and West Africa, SiaAmma surprises with her humor, wit and insights in the face of the dark subject she has taken on."
SiaAmma has performed the show in San Francisco, Berkeley, and elsewhere. She is the founder of the San Francisco-based non-profit organization, Global Women Intact, whose primary mission is to end female circumcision through education, information and alternative forms of initiation ceremonies. Performances of In Search of My Clitoris at play 8:30 PM at Symphony Space (95th Street and Broadway) April 17-19. Tickets are $20 and may be purchased by calling (212) 864-5400. Visit www.symphonyspace.org or www.celebrateclitoris.com.
— By Kenneth Jones