Joining Solters, on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, April 27-29 only, at Two Roads Theatre, 4348 Tujunga Ave., Studio City, are V-Day veterans and co-stars, Allie Altschuler, Michelle Appezzato (who also directs), Ginny Cruciano, Chelsea Mallon, Sarah Newswanger, and Victoria Rose.
Based on interviews with over 200 women, this hilarious, heart wrenching, and stimulating show contains themes of female empowerment, the ultimate embodiment of individuality, and the personal freedom to be a sexual being.
The Vagina Monologues is presented annually across the globe as part of Ensler’s V-Day organization. V-Day’s goal is to expose and educate as many people as possible, “until the violence stops.”
Solters describes this spectacular cast as “incredibly talented, selfless, motivated, and supportive of each other. They make me want to be the best I can be.”
“When we approach each production,” Maxie reveals, “we discuss why we’re still putting our hearts and souls into V-Day and what it means to us.”
The Vagina Monologues is so special and personal, it encourages closeness and collaboration, rather than the comparison and competition that often occurs between girlfriends.
Maxie is honored to bring The Vagina Monologues to her hometown of Studio City for the third year in a row. “V-Day has been such a major part of my life since I became involved in 2007, I can’t imagine a V-Season without it.”
After coordinating The Vagina Monologues at USC for two years, Solters realized she couldn’t stop her dedication to the cause, hence V-Day Studio City arose. “It’s a huge passion of mine and I’m completely committed to ending violence and making a difference.”
Altschuler agrees with Solters that V-Day is something she couldn’t think about abandoning. She affirms delight in how Studio City has welcomed the group with “warm, receptive arms.”
The central message of The Vagina Monologues, Altschuler believes is “one of awareness: awareness about our bodies and sexuality; awareness about the realities of the world around us; awareness of how much command and beauty women possess.”
Allie feels privileged to perform a new monologue that Eve added this year, describing it as “extremely forceful, moving, and concise.” Entitled ‘What If I Told You I Didn't Have a Vagina,’ it's about the women of eastern Congo recovering after surviving atrocities of war.
Acknowledging that The Vagina Monologues can be a bit heavy at times, Allie avows, “What I love about this addition is that it ends so triumphantly, communicating optimism, promise, and courage, which is what the whole play is about.”
Altschuler admits that V-Day has changed her life in innumerable ways, divulging that co-workers and even clients lovingly call her “The Vagina Authority.” They come to her with various vagina questions and stories.
“More importantly,” Altschuler maintains, “V-Day has initiated a dialogue with the women I’ve encountered, plus a lot of the men. It’s been the driving impetus behind some of my most important friendships. It's made me recognize that we’re part of a greater good, actually making a noticeable change in our civilization.”
According to Sarah Newswanger, V-Day is significant not only for raising money for noble reasons and making people cognizant of the cruelty committed daily, but for generating conversations about vaginas and sex in a manner that wouldn’t otherwise occur.
Newswanger asserts, “I would love it if we were frank and honest about sexuality, safe sex and the emotional ramifications of sex in our culture but we aren't quite there yet. When I first saw The Vagina Monologues, I laughed and cried. It made me look at myself, what I wanted in relationships, and reconsider how I related to my own vagina.”
Sarah perceives that the media is saturated with sexy advertising and there’s a massive amount of promiscuity in television/movies with intense sex scenes, both of which are accepted as normal.
“At the same time there are extreme attacks happening now on reproductive rights throughout the country,” Sarah observes. “Furthermore, the rhetoric we use continues to be very judgmental, e.g. we’re quick to categorize women as sluts and whores.”
Newswanger is particularly eager to perform the piece, ‘The Woman Who Loved To Make Vaginas Happy,’ on the subject of orgasms. “My monologue is about discovering your sexuality and not letting others tell you it's wrong. Be loud and proud! Moan to your heart’s content.”
Solters explains, “The Vagina Monologues is not just a play, it’s a movement. My dream is that after seeing this show, you’ll be inspired to help break the cycle of abuse.”
As an actress, Maxie is grateful for the opportunity to speak for women who have been silenced by society, bringing insight, compassion, and hope to those who have experienced violence, and sharing her enthusiasm and excitement with the community.
Participating in V-Day has allowed Maxie to talk freely about her sexuality. “I can openly say ‘vagina’ without feeling nervous or awkward. My friends know exactly what I'm referring to when they ask what I'm doing and I say ‘vag stuff.’ V-Day has helped me grow into the strong woman I am today.”
Solters professes, “I’m proud to be a Vagina Warrior. If we can touch just one person, then it's all worth it.”
As with every V-Day event, profits are disseminated to a local charity. Solters has named Peace Over Violence, infamous for their highly regarded efforts in preventing domestic violence through knowledge, understanding, faith, self-confidence, music, and family, as the 2012 beneficiary.
The Pleasure Chest and Fun Factory continue their sponsorship tradition by donating vibrators and gift bags/cards, to be raffled. Chocolate vagina lollipops, penis brownies, and wine are available for a nominal fee. A highlight of the evening is the ‘fake orgasm contest,’ which always elicits wild laughter from the audience.
Tickets: $20/$15 (Sun.) cash at the door or online in advance at Ticketweb.com.
For more info, visit Facebook.com/VDayStudioCity.