Play’s controversial theme woos audiences

“Men blush when they see it and women enjoy,” the two actors, Frieda Karipi (30) and Sampa Wilkie said before last Friday’s performance, for whose tickets sold out a week in advance. Vagina Monologues is a world famous theatrical play that is performed as part of the V-Day Campaign, a movement that opposes violence against women. Originally written by American women activist Eve Ensler, the play has been adopted during the V-Day Campaigns by activists and is performed in theatres across the globe between February 8 and March 8 every year. Karipi and Wilkie got the nerve and challenge to pass on the message of violence against women through the Vagina Monologues from South African actors who performed in Namibia two years ago. “Not many countries have had Vagina Monologues and it’s only this year that countries such as Swaziland, Zambia, Botswana, Lesotho, and Malawi have adopted the play,” says Wilkie. The play, which has attracted dignitaries from government and from various private institutions since last year, “centres on the vagina itself,” the two say. “It’s about how the women’s most revered part benefits others and suffers through abuse, sex as well as giving birth, but for Namibia, the most important part of it is that the play is being done by two actors and not eight or five as is the case in some countries,” Wilkie says. Said Karipi: “The two of us had the guts in Namibia to perform the play as the title would appear culturally immoral in Africa, but for us, it is the content that we chose and not the title, as the name only serves to attract audiences, yet it is the artistic challenges and the daring momentum in the play, that caught our attention.” The V-Day Campaign only recruits one person from each country to be part of the play and in this case both Karipi and and Wilkie, who is Zambian, got recruited from their own countries before teaming up in Windhoek to form a perfect combination in theatre. The two performed the play for the first time in Namibia last year, as part of the United Nations 16 Days Against Violence. Vagina Monologues normally coincides with Valentine’s Day and the International Women’s Day. The hour-and-a-half play is co-produced by Warehouse Theatre and Ernest Hartman while Sandy Budd is the co-director. This year’s theme of Vagina Monologue is “Stop the Violence” and “neither men nor women freak out but they will continue to be shocked that a play with such a name can offer such content”, they conclude. According to the two, Ensler wrote about the wrongs that women face after interviewing thousands of women across the globe before putting it into a play, Vagina Monologues, which is a must-see in Namibia where women abuse has been on the rise for the last two years.

March 2006
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