Vagina Monologues

On Valentines Day of 2000, two years after Eve Ensler launched V-Day, a global non-profit movement that has raised over $75 million to support the end of violence against women, the first professional production of The Vagina Monologues was raised in Cambridge, MA. I was invited with artist, Laura Mack, to create an installation for the theater lobby. In a succession of meetings with the actresses, we used writing as an entry-point, modeled on the process that Eve used in her conversations with women. The women, through a series of writing exercises, wrote both from within character and within their own personal lives about being a woman and, specifically, about having a vagina. From these writings and the ensuing dialogues we had the women choose poses, parts of the body, or stills that expressed an aspect of the voices uncovered in their writings and sharings. In small groups we made body casts of each actress. Laura and I returned to the studio with the sculptures and the writings and, over the following weeks, filled each sculpted cast with objects that represented both the subjects and emotions raised during the creative process with the actresses. Filling materials included: grass (that we grew inside the cast), pink feathers, dollar bills, broken mirror, candy Valentine hearts, chocolate icing, Hershey kisses and more. Each sculpture was filled with a different material. All sculptures were left white on the exterior. This choice allowed us to represent the way in which women, some of whom are victims of violence, often choose to blend into larger society and hide themselves by becoming invisible while the interior life remains rich and complex and sometimes hurt, fearful or angry. These sculptures were hung in the lobby of the theater.