by Malou Liwanag-Aguilar/Asianjournal.com
SAN FRANCISCO — In their continuing global efforts to stop violence against women and girls, the Filipina Women’s Network (FWN), a non-profit association for women of Philippine ancestry, joins V-Day with its production of Eve Ensler’s Obie award-winning The Vagina Monologues (Usaping Puki, Tagalog trans.) in San Francisco and New York.
V-Day is a catalyst that promotes creative events to increase awareness, raise money and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations. V-Day FWN 2008 aims to raise awareness through theatre, popular culture and education of the high incidence of violence in Filipino homes and intimate partner relationships and to help Filipina women in abusive relationships to take action and seek help.
This all-Filipina benefit production directly hits the hearts of many Filipino women who have been silent or ashamed to talk openly and fight back domestic violence. It seeks to find ways to break the cycle of violence.
In a survey done last year, 76 percent of the almost two million Filipinos in the Bay Area and over 500,000 in New York/ New Jersey areas have indicated that they either witnessed violence at home, grew up in abusive homes, are in abusive intimate partner relationships, ready left abusive relationships or know of someone who has experienced domestic violence. It was also indicated that these victims did not seek help, were ashamed to talk about the violence, and did not know what to do and were not aware of resources available to survivors and victims.
Four benefit shows are scheduled in San Francisco: the screening of Until The Violence Stops, a powerful film about VDay on March 28 at the Academy of Art University, The Vagina Monologues on March 31 with its all-Filipina cast at the Herbst Theatre, while Usaping Puki, the Tagalog version, will be on April 5 at the Academy of Art University; A new play, MMRP: A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer, featuring men and supporters of Men Against Violence, will be onstage on April 4 and 5 at the Herbst Theatre.
Shows in NY will be on April 18 and 19, at the Philippine Center New York.
The all-Filipino cast is composed of community leaders, actors, students, professionals, activists and homemakers. The production aims to engage the Filipino community through theatre and hearing the women’s stories in Tagalog (with Usaping Puki) hits home, helping them understand the broader connections of Filipino values such as respect for women, dignity, family, equality and justice to social and economic issues and to class and religion.
Eve Ensler’s Obie award-winning The Vagina Monologues is based on interviews with over 200 women about their memories and experiences of sexuality, giving voice to women’s deepest fears, guaranteeing that no one who watches the show will ever look at a woman’s body or think of sex in quite the same way again. It is a celebration of female sexuality in all its complexity and mystery. In this stunning phenomenon that has swept the world, Eve Ensler gives us real women’s stories of intimacy, vulnerability and self-discovery.
The Vagina Monologues is headed by executive producer Marily Mondejar, directed by Elena Mangahas and Ken Marquis for the San Francisco production and Christina Baal and Theresa Tantay-Wilson for the New York production. The show is for the benefit of the Filipinas Against Violence, V-Day Spotlight 2008: Katrina Warriors — Women of New Orleans and the Gulf South and Comfort Women Survivors in the Philippines.