A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer: Writings To Stop Violence Against Women and Girls

Meow, Edward St CBD, Wellington

28/04/2012 - 30/04/2012

Production Details

A fundraiser for Wellington Rape Crisis 

Co-edited by award-winning The Vagina Monologues author Eve Ensler, A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer is a collection of personal and powerful monologues by world-renowned authors and playwrights.

2012 Spotlight monologue – Eve Ensler – Erin Banks
First Kiss –
Mollie Doyle Isobel MacKinnon
Destruction Artist – Michael Cunningham Uther Dean
Maurice – Kathy Najimy Ally Garrett
Banana Beer Bath – Lynn Nottage Jean Sergent
Untitled – Nicholas D. Kristof Martin Wood (28th, 30th), Charles Chauvel (29th)
Blueberry Hill – Christine House Hannah Banks
Respect – Kimberle Crenshaw Metiria Turei
Looking for the Body Music – Michael Klein Ricky Dey
Rescue – Mark Matousek Salesi Le’ota (28th, 29th), Grant Robertson (30th)
Fur Is Back – Eve EnslerJan Logie (28th, 30th), Stella Reid (29th)  

In this special V-Day performance, Members of Parliament, Metiria Turei, Jan Logie (28th, 30th), Grant Roberston (30th), and Charles Chauvel (29th) will team up with Wellington actors, Erin Banks, Hannah Banks, Uther Dean, Ricky Dey, Ally Garrett, Isobel MacKinnon, Jean Sergent, Martyn Wood (28th, 30th), Salesi Le’ota (28th, 29th), Stella Reid (29th) to raise awareness about violence towards women and girls, under the direction of Fiona McNamara and Stevie Wildewood. At turns brutal, funny, tragic and profound, these monologues form a collective and defiant voice calling for an end to this global violence. 

V-Day is a global activist movement that generates broader attention for the fight to stop violence against women and girls. It was established by Eve Ensler and a group of women on Valentines Day, 1998. You can find out more about V-Day at: www.vday.org

Proceeds from this V-Day Wellington production will go directly to Wellington Rape Crisis, a local agency providing free information, support and counselling for survivors of rape and sexual abuse, their friends and family and prevention education programmes in the community. 

This performance carries a trigger warning for rape and sexual violence.

Meow Café, Edward St, Wellington

Saturday April 28, Sunday April 29 and Monday April 30 

Doors open 7pm, show starts at 7.30pm  .
Tickets: Adults $20, Concession $15

A curiously uplifting 'entertainment'

Review by John Smythe 29th Apr 2012

It’s not part of the comedy festival but A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer, written by world-renowned authors and playwrights, and performed by our own actors and politicians, is insightful, true, moving, amusing and only on three times (Sat, Sun, Mon); the maximum allowed for a V-Day Event.

Although the title implies four pieces, an online script published in 2009 (three years after the concept’s New York premiere) offers 107, not including the Spotlight Monologue which Eve Enlser updates every year and Erin Banks reads to launch this Wellington Rape Crisis fundraiser – for which 11 have been selected. Her litany of violent acts against women focuses our minds on the issue at hand.

But we are not brow-beaten with didactic polemics. Each piece captures a spirit of being human in a series of recognisable situations, provoking empathy for those involved and heightening our awareness of why and how such things come to pass.

Co-directed by Fiona McNamara and Stevie Wildwood, the readers all pitch their chosen monologue simply and to great effect, and no allowances have to be made for the non-actor politicians either. All 11 on the opening night (of the season’s 14 participants) use their skills to put the focus where it should be: on the story.  

First Kiss by Mollie Doyle (co-editor with Ensler), read by Isobel McKinnon, tells of a six year-old girl’s experience at a sports camp, and alerts us to the power of peer groups and the mob, as well as the predatory adult counsellor.

A story heard in Uganda inspiredBanana Beer Bath (Lynn Nottage / Jean Sergent). The three beautiful Elem sisters take refuge in – and I do mean in – their father’s back yard brew as the singing, marching rebels approach. The horror of what ensues ferments potently beneath the surreal and darkly comic tale.

Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Nicholas D Kristof revisits Phnom Penh, Cambodia, with hisUntitled experience (Martyn Wood; Charles Chauvel, 29th), uncomfortably aware that while it generates a New York Times article about child prostitution, it leaves him having to cope with the lore that journalists are there to report but not get involved.  

Meteria Turei, with her script lovingly mounted on appropriately-shaped cards, revels in Respect by Kimberly Krenshaw, where the role of black vaginas in “building this country” (the USA) is honoured in the context of a history that once decreed sex with a black women could not be rape.

In Looking for the Body Music (Michael Klein / Ricky Dey) the daughter of alcoholic vaudevillians discovers, at boarding school, that being fat is a hanging offence – hung by her feet from a dormitory window, that is. So much for protecting her from the violence her mother is subjected to at home.

The thrill a flirtatious young woman finally experiences on Blueberry Hill (Christine House / Hannah Banks) in the face of a gang of drunken youths, is the powerful and empowering resolution to a dramatic and tension-filled story.

Maurice – “a popular senior with a ‘fro, with a van” – is the testosterone-driven boy Kathy Najimby’s story decodes, as her “fat teenager with questionable hair” (Ally Garrett), behaving as she thinks she ought to also be popular, deals to his persistence in a K-Mart carpark.

The focus shifts from “art attacks” to self harm with The Destruction Artist (Michael Cunningham / Uther Dean), another of the stories that confronts our sense of responsibility towards each other even when ‘consent’ appears to have been granted.

Rescue (Mark Matousek / Salesi Le’ota; Grant Robertson, 29th) offers a young brother’s perspective on sexual violence perpetrated on his mother and sisters. 

Jan Logie (Stella Reid on the 29th) gives Eve Ensler the last word with Fur Is Back, in which ‘the party question’ – “What’s up?” – is answered honestly by a woman who wants to be “a funny, laughing, invited-to-the-party person” except she is angry, and therefore an embarrassment to the friend her brought her.  

Any fears that this will be an emotionally torrid, heavy-duty affair, are not borne out. A spirited celebration of positive humanity infuses proceedings as we are invited to engage with a multitude of experiences and perspectives by way of checking our own moral compass, how we are in our own worlds and what we contribute to make it better.

A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer is a curiously uplifting ‘entertainment’ that handsomely rewards your ticket-price contribution to Wellington Rape Crisis. Highly recommended. 


John Smythe April 29th, 2012

"Smug" is the last word I would use for this, James.  I trust you will go to it - or read the stories if you live elsewhere - in order to give yourself the right to comment. 

James Levy April 29th, 2012

This sounds like such a smug Wellington event.  Self indulgence on a small scale.

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