Ann Arbor woman organizes reading of 'The Vagina Monologues' Monday at Lansing Capitol
The steps of the Michigan Capitol in Lansing will become a stage Monday at 5 p.m. when a special performance of the play "The Vagina Monologues" takes place starring Eve Ensler, the playwright along with a group of female legislators, all Democrats, including Sen. Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor.
Carla Milarch, the associate artistic director at the Performance Network in Ann Arbor, is organizing the reading of "The Vagina Monologues" in response to the controversy that erupted in the Michigan Legislature last Thursday when two state representatives were prevented from speaking on the House floor because of remarks they made the day before.
Dale G. Young | The Detroit News
The Detroit Free Press reported that Rep. Barb Byrum, D-Onondaga, on Wednesday proposed an amendment which would have required proof of a medical emergency or that a man's life was in danger before a doctor could perform a vasectomy, and that she shouted out the word "vasectomy." Both Byrum and Brown were prevented from speaking Thursday.
"I decided to do this because I was struck by how closely the issues in 'The Vagina Monologues' aligned with the issues in the recent Lisa Brown incident," said Milarch. "So many taboos about ourselves, our bodies, and speaking up for our rights are tied into our difficulty with that word."
"The fact that in this day and age people are still intimidated by a woman using the word vagina in an assertive and self-expressive way proves that there is still a strong need for the messages of the play," said Milarch.
Milarch met Ensler when she visited the Performance Network Theatre in 2003 during the production of her play "Necessary Targets." Milarch recently had the idea to do the play as a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood featuring local actresses.
"When I emailed Eve to get her permission, she told me that she had been bombarded by communications from Michigan about the incident," said Milarch. "People were outraged and she wanted to get involved!"
Milarch connected Ensler to Sen. Warren, and the event grew to a new level. Warren reserved the Capitol steps and got numerous legislators involved. More than 30 local actresses agreed to take part in the performance including Naz Edwards, Suzi Regan, Jan Blixt, Eva Rosenwald, Dana Sutton, Chelsea Sadler and Kate Willinger Manfredi. "I am already in awe of what the women working together on this have accomplished in such a short time," said Milarch.
The special performance of "The Vagina Monologues" is scheduled to run from 5-8 p.m. Monday on the Michigan Capitol Building steps, 100 N. Capitol Ave.