Reflections from the Vagina Monologues 2019.

Admittedly, I’ve taken an exceptionally long break from writing and posting because I started acting again, got caught up with work, ended an internship, suffered some gnarly winter illnesses and life (happened). Hopefully this adds a little clarity to everything that has been blossomed since the start of the new year.

Oftentimes, it takes me a few days to process significant experiences. So, it seems both appropriate and timely to express my gratitude and bittersweet reflections after last weekend’s closing night of the VM, on this very special Women’s Day (2019).

My cast and I wrapped the Prague production of the Vagina Monologues (which written by Eve Ensler in 1996) -and it was nothing short of challenging, inspirational, hilarious and absolutely life changing. I (personally) suffered a horrendous episode of strep throat near final rehearsals and went on stage on opening night with a stomach virus and 101℉/38.3 ℃ fever. Similarly, many of my castmates pushed through some tough colds, coughs, gross flu-ish sicknesses and everything in between. But, the show must go on (for my theater people, we laugh…oh the plot twists)!!!

Besides this being my first time back on stage since I quit acting in NYC, I learned so much about stepping into one’s power by playing the character, “The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy”. Sureeeee, wielding a horse crop and practicing the final operatic belt, “surprise triple orgasm moan.” was hilarious and exciting, “I got a reputation in my building, and people stared at me with contempt in the elevator.” (IRL…my poor neighbors!). But, I stepped into the role and became a character who is unapologetic about herself. She not only commanded respect, but she also forgave herself and persevered even after facing the scrutiny of societal norms and expectations.

Additionally, there was something about this production and cast that fundamentally changed my chemical makeup. It is no exaggeration to say that we all bonded deeply. We genuinely took care of each other, laughed and supported each other every step of the way. I half begrudgingly walked into the audition in January on my own but walked out of the theater embraced by fifteen new friends, confidants and a deeply talented and strong tribe of women -who all represent various age groups, cultural and religious identities and backgrounds, some actors and non actors but who all were wonderfully kind, inquisitive and open about their experiences (in life, in and outside of theater). That is rare to find and precious to nurture.

Lastly (and most importantly), our team raised 4,800 Kc for V-Day (the international organization), and 43,700 Kc for ACORUS (a domestic violence shelter here in Prague that provides long-term and short-term shelter, counseling and legal services to women and victims of domestic violence), all totaling 48,500 Kc! The result of our hard work IS powerful and very personal to me.

It is also a reminder that on this particular Women’s Day, I choose to celebrate because throughout the world, the reality of gender equality (or to stick with the official International Women’s Day 2019 campaign theme, “Better the balance, better the world”) and the empowerment of women is severely limited or lacking. It does not escape me that there is more work to be done.

So, happy International Women’s Day 2019, “Better the balance, better the world.”, onward & upward! And a HUGE thanks to my director, stage manager, producer, entire cast (sisters), friends & family, stage builders, the Teahouse, any and all volunteers and everyone who encouraged me through all of this. Lots of love (truly, madly, deeply from the bottom of my heart).

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