THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES
16/02/2013 - 16/02/2013
The magical highs and heart-rending lows of real women’s stories are presented by a flock of our favourite Maori actresses.
The mysteries and truths of our often secret inner lives are exploded with both hilarious and gut wrenching results providing fresh insights to a once tapu world.
Roimata Fox(Korero Mai),
Tansy Hayden (30 Love), Aroha Rawson (Supercity),
Taupunakohe Tocker (I Am TV) and
Mary Campbell (Singer/ Songwriter),
come to the stage in support of One Billion Rising, the global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. Part of the proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the campaign.
1 Night, 2 Shows
Saturday 16 February
530 & 730pm
@ The Basement, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland 1010
Bookings @ www.iticket.co.nz
Universal themes localised
Review by Shirin Brown 19th Feb 2013
Mokomedia’s production of Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues embodying a Maori women’s perspective, directed by Maria Walker, has me intrigued.
Personally I feel it is a bit dated. Aren’t we over making fun of the necessary evil of smear tests, and don’t we just make personal choices about being hairy or not? Once we got over the many names for pussy, the play and writing takes off, vagina being a metaphor for women themselves: how they are perceived, and the injuries done to them in the name of war, beauty or what is normal.
The highlights of this performance are in the music that is cleverly woven through the piece by Mary Campbell as well as her song ‘Bring back the Muff’, which sets the piece firmly in New Zealand.
While all the performances are very good, Taupunakohe Tocker is outstanding, bringing us to tears as we experience the pain of a woman whose body and country were ravaged by war but also making us laugh out loud at the playfulness of an old Kuia celebrating the C word.
Tansy Hayden encapsulates the slightly neurotic woman brilliantly with her earnest descriptions of her vagina as a “shell, a tulip and my destiny”, allowing us to laugh both at, and with, her discovery of womanhood.
Aroha Rawson brings the house down with her performance as a defensive, working class Maori woman who learns to appreciate her punana by the way her French boyfriend can’t get enough of looking at it, and delivers a clever performance as a woman from the Deep South in the ‘Little Coochie Snorcher that Could’.
The clever staging and music gives a dynamism to the piece. Roimata Fox is stunning but an older Maori woman might have embodied her piece more easily while also portraying a greater range of female experience. While enjoying the piece, I also wonder whether the rough-as-guts Maori stereotype portrayed by Aroha is necessary.
The strength of the show is definitely in the local embodiment of themes which address the challenges of women across all societies. The vibrant finale, with a song – ‘Puao mai e Hine’ – written by Taupunakohe, brings it all together beautifully and the harmonising is an additional special treat.
A percentage of ticket sales will be donated to One Billion Rising – a performance initiative to raise the profile of violence against women. So, while saying the word vagina in public may no longer shock, the underlying themes resonate just as much today as they did when the play was written.
You’ve missed it at the Fringe this year but hopefully there will be more opportunities to see this great show.
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