Monaco Revue   
V-Day 2008 in Monaco

Sunday, March 30, Monaco will join the world in saluting V-Day. No, it has nothing to do with men celebrating any military victory. Rather, it's all about women of the principality joining millions of women around the world in drawing attention and calling for an end to the abuse of women and girls.

“I'm trying to raise awareness [about] problems throughout the world,” says Lavinia Samuel, who heads the project in Monaco. “It's also within our midst...[but] it's very hidden.”

V-Day grew out of New York playwright Eve Ensler's controversial and wildly popular 1996 production called The Vagina Monologues, inspired by the shame many women felt about their bodies. Later performed by the likes of Jane Fonda, Oprah Winfrey, Glen Close, Whoopi Goldberg and Susan Sarandon, the production coalesced into a US non-profit and an international movement.

The 'V' in V-Day stands for Victory, Valentine and Vagina, and millions of women at events in 3,700 locations in 120 countries will this year focus on what it takes to survive the brutality and violence women have had to endure.

Here in Monaco, Samuel is staging 10 monologues from the book A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant, and a Prayer, a compilation of monologues which Ensler invited literary notables to write to celebrate the production's tenth anniversary.

“People tend to think the original monologues are vulgar,” Samuel said. The selection from the new book, is “much deeper, much richer, much lest vulgar. It goes deeper and it's very touching, very heartfelt.”

The monologues will be performed in English by amateurs and one professional London-based actress, said Samuel, who staged V-Day events previously in Antibes, Cap d'Ail and last year in Monaco. The cast includes two men, and males are also welcome to see the show, Samuel stressed.

“I've tried to pick [monologues] where the man is also the hero, because not all men abuse,” she said. Such men “are very useful to us; we need them to get the message across to men who do abuse.”

There will be two performances of the show (at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.) at Fusion on the Port (above Stars 'N' Bars) at Quai Antoine, with 10 per cent of the proceeds going to the V-Day organization and the rest to Action Innocence of Monaco. Samuel noted she's bending the rules in donating the 90 per cent to Action Innocence, which works to combat pedophilia on the Internet.

“Normally, V-Day insists we give it to a purely female charity for women's benefit only,” she said. “Unfortunately that doesn't yet exist in Monaco, but hopefully one day soon it will.”

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