14 Aug 2022

Monologues made Women’s Day

A GREAT way to convey the creativity from within is to do something out your comfort zone.

A GREAT way to convey the creativity from within is to do something out your comfort zone.

Something that is, (ideally), with an added shock factor.

‘The Monologues’, which was conceived through Project Women, is an initiative to bring art, particularly theatre, to women who would not usually participate in such activities. This in conjunction with Barnstorm’s INCUBATE project, created an incentive that provides support and resources to artists – The Project was the brain-child of the ever-prolific, Ita Morrissey who directed the overall production and also, wrote one of the monologues.

For one-night only, last Friday their explorations were revealed. The evening started with an insightful introduction to the history of International Women’s Day, like how the first International Women’s Day was celebrated on 19th March 1911.

A flawlessly harmonious performance from the Lisdowney Ladies Choral Group provided a perfect preview. As did the video montage of women; the general public and some of the performers in the event were photographed by Christopher Heltzel and film and editing was by Luke Morrissey, which can be viewed on Project Women Facebook page. This gave a true snap-shot of women in today’s society, as well as an apt introduction.

The cast of 12 women, appeared and the simplistic stage direction and props, made way for the powerful dialogue and execution. Throughout, I had to remind myself that the majority of the women had never set foot on the stage until this project arose and taking this into consideration, all did remarkably well.

The performances ranged from the sweet and nostalgic diary excerpt from a young girl’s friendship with a boy at the time, to a hilarious account of how an independent, shop-a-holic woman was scrutinised by her “successful” Bank Manager, were well-written and equally well-executed.

It was prevalent that The Vagina Monologues, written by Eve Ensler was very much a base for the dialogue and style of the show. Demonstrated in, “I was There In The Room”, as performed by Hilda Sifiso, who gave a superbly poetic and dramatic rendition, which describes the birth of the writer’s granddaughter.

All possible expectation for an evening of a male-bashing-hormonal-power-trip was thankfully diminished. As each account depicted was directed at women and their experiences, trials and tribulations of woman hood at any age. It was refreshing to see a handful of men were brave enough to attend and able to disregard this assumption, of an evidently unprejudiced show: “Who put the men in menopause?” A line from a monologue by Mary Walshe and well performed by Elinor Mountain roused a chuckle all-round.

It was however, a case of saving the best until last. As last to perform, Mary Cody gave an exceptionally credible performance, “Because He Liked To Look At It”, written by Eve Ensler. It was witty as it was cleverly direct and authentically conveyed.

For reasons not only due in some cases, of the material and dialogue that the fortitude of these 12 women was notable but more so their courage could not be faulted.

Collectively, internationally, complicated, thought-provoking and insightful are conclusive remnants that I cannot help but state. I feel privileged to not only have been a spectator but to have been involved in Project Women and for the people I have met through the experience. What a momentous celebration to mark International Women’s Day!

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