The Vagina Mono­logues in New York

South African ac­tresses join in­ter­na­tional cast of women in a pro­duc­tion of

Creative Feel - - EDITOR’S NOTE -

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

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