Seoul Players will host a performance of “The Vagina Monologues” this weekend.
It will be the first of several events across the country for V-Day, an annual event to campaign against violence toward women and raise money for related charities.
The Seoul troupe performed “The Vagina Monologues” last year, raising $5,000, according to Barri Tsavaris, this year’s producer.
Tsavaris added that the attempts to attract Korean audience members had been successful.
“Korean audience members were quite positive last year about their experience seeing the show, so we’re continuing to strive to make it accessible to them,” she said.
This year’s show looks to build on that success, but with a few tweaks.
“The two criticisms I hear most frequently as a whole are: The show isn’t inclusive enough, and it isn’t current enough,” said Rae Dohar, the show’s director.
She said they had reduced the number of performers from 18 to 14, partly for practical reasons of casting.
“That, coupled with some audience participation and a few other little surprises, gives the show more of an intimate feel than in other productions.”
Dohar concedes that some of the criticisms of the show are valid, but is confident that she and her cast can still deliver evocative, funny and moving performances.
“In a way, I am proud to say that we have moved past some of the original monologues; it means that we are ready to move forward, to take the issue of women’s and girls’ rights further,” she said. “But it is still a worthwhile endeavor to delve into these stories as a reminder of how far we’ve come, how many women and men have contributed to that journey, and how far we have yet to go.”
To this end, the show will still have Korean subtitles and, like last year, part of the show will be in Korean with English subtitles, although Dohar said it had been modified this year to account for cultural differences.
The show will run at 9 p.m. on Friday, 8 p.m. on Saturday and 4 p.m. on Sunday at Spazio Luce in Itaewon. As well as the global campaign that all V-day events support, the local nominated charities are the Korean Unwed Mothers and Families Association and Seoul Survivor Services.
Four other V-day events are planned in Korea this year, each supporting women’s charities.
Other performances of the “Vagina Monologues” are planned in Jinju, Gwangju and Jeonju.
Jinju’s main performance, in aid of Jinju Women’s Shelter, will be staged during the weekend of April 12-13.
There will also be a “Monologues after Dark” performance in the city, intended as a positive version of the main play, and a Red and Black party, which is usually their biggest fund-raiser.
Gwangju organizers say they raised more than 4 million won ($3,800) last year. This year’s show, directed by Amanda Serrano, will raise money for the Gwangju Support Center for Immigrant Women. Dates are to be confirmed.
Details of the Jeonju event are not yet confirmed but the organizers are working with the Jeonbuk Women’s Association United.
Another V-Day event will stage part of “A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant and a Prayer,” a collection of 50 writings on women’s oppression, on Jejudo Island on April 5.
By Paul Kerry (firstname.lastname@example.org)