The Vagina Monologues in New York
South African actresses join international cast of women in a production of
To raise funds for women in need, a production of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues featuring a cast of women from all over the world, including two actresses from South Africa, was performed at The Producer’s Club on 22 June in Hell’s Kitchen. Tickets for the show were donation based and all proceeds went towards charities and organisations that support women’s rights or provide aid for underprivileged women.
South African actress, Elena du Pisanie, says, ‘We strongly believe in the value that women should support other women and we have construed the production in a manner that shows a diverse group of women supporting each other by sharing personal experiences in an open, safe and nonjudgmental environment. It is such an honour to be a part of a cast where each individual’s life experience is completely different from mine – I feel that surrounding myself with people from all walks of life inspires growth in me.’
The Vagina Monologues is extremely relevant, especially in light of recent events in the entertainment industry as it touches on subjects of rape and the oppression, objectification and abuse of women – things that are not only prevalent in this industry, but in all industries worldwide. It also empowers women by shedding light on certain subjects that are often seen as taboo and it boldly uncovers the strength and wonder that lies in being a woman.
Gaby Georgeson, also a South African actress, says, ‘This play has fast become one of my favourites. The effect it has had on the cast so far is incredible. It’s helped us foster a sense of sisterhood as well as a sense of respect not only for each other but our bodies and our power as women. In this particular political climate, as a woman, it is easy to feel passed over or small. But in The Vagina Monologues, we dive into every aspect of being a woman that makes us feel powerful, even when our power has been taken from us.
With the help of this incredible group of women from all over the world, we are challenging the patriarchal ways of this world in a positive way.’
These women from around the world united with a vision to empower women from different ethnicities, religions, races, sexual orientations and cultural backgrounds. The cast included British/Norwegian actress and producer, Elizabeth Pickering Hopland; New Jersey-based actress, Love Vonjay; American actress, Tina WongLu; Indian actress, Saakshee Sharma; British actress, writer, producer and activist, Joanna Pickering; Turkish writer and actress, Ceren Ergenekon; Argentinian actress and singer, Marcia Bercher; American actress, illustrator and artist, Alexandrea Mallia; American actress and comedian, Abigail Wilson; and Bulgarian-born actress who was raised between Russia, the US and UK, Maria Raine.
Elena du Pisanie has been acting from a very young age and had the privilege of being in many theatre productions in South Africa during her childhood and her teenage years. In 2016, she made the big move from South Africa to New York to study acting on a talent-based scholarship at the
New York Film Academy. Since completing her studies, she has been in various independent and Off-Broadway theatre productions as well as numerous independent films, including a short film that had its world premiere at Sundance this year.
Gaby Georgeson is currently living and working in New York City and working on two Off-Off-Broadway plays. She has appeared in several plays, web series, short films and at festivals throughout her career. Georgeson is a co-creator of the thrilling play, Welcome to the Zoo. She has trained in acting at the New York Film Academy and Rhodes University. She also has the award-winning Jim Jermanok as her mentor.
Gaby Georgeson Elena du Pisanie