Contributed with thoughtfulness by Studio Manager Kristan Brown and contributing writer Kevin Randazzo
It seems poetic that Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues turns twenty this year. The #metoo era has brought around a reckoning that is embarrassingly overdue and has called out a nation grappling with splintered realities. But in a time where “fake news” and the marginalization of women seem more relevant than ever, The Vagina Monologues show us THEY are simply echos of a timeless travesties.
One of the purpose’s of art has always been to distill truth and to give audience to its absoluteness. Art is truth incarnate. We use art to communicate. We use art to grow. We use art express, grieve, process, feel, and make sense of a maddening world. We also use art to laugh, hurt, praise, and denounce. Essentially, art helps us to make sense of the world and ensures a better life for the next generation.
Third year TK Studio student Rebecca Anderson is part of that next generation, and has picked up the baton Ensler carried years ago. Rebecca, along with TK Actors and Two Year Conservatory graduates Ronald Lopez, Lucia Sawh, Kaylee Frazier, Darren Lipari, Tyler Bujnowski, Arelys Rosado-Gonzalez, Kezia Bernard-Nau and Adriane Moreno, have produced a night of theater that aims to depict the issues of violence against woman and how it effects us all. And to raise money for the cause in the process.
A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant, and a Prayer, edited by Eve Ensler and Molly Doyle, is Ensler’s second work from her V-Day movement:
“V-Day is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls.* (*Women and girls is an inclusive term reflecting all those who were assigned and/or identify as female.) V-Day is a catalyst that promotes creative events to increase awareness, raise money, and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations. V-Day generates broader attention for the fight to stop violence against women and girls, including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation (FGM), and sex slavery.” (www.vday.org) The organization has raised over $100 million for programs around the world aimed at stopping the epidemic of violence against women.
With training and support from VOW, survivors organize to improve policies and practices that affect battered women. VOW members document system failures, give testimony, meet with principal decision-makers and develop recommendations for change. Through VOW, survivors discover that they have a powerful voice which can influence the response to domestic violence in New York City.
The play culls work from eminent writers including Edward Albee, Michael Cunningham, Erin Cressida Wilson, and Maya Angelou and uses that cornucopia of voices to do what art is supposed do: drag atrocities into the light. She mines these stories for their truth, and forges from that truth mindful, honest, beautiful art.
There are still powerful monsters making big decisions in the world. Theater like Ensler’s can be daunting in how it challenges those in power. But as Terry Knickerbocker says in every class, “Run towards the cannons.” Fearlessness is necessary when dredging up topics powerful people wish to avoid. But no man, no matter their power, can rewrite truth. They can try and gaslight, they can muddy waters and obfuscate realities, but they are not the deciders of truth. That is the job of the artist and their audience.
The real actor, the kind of artist TK Studio nurtures, relishes this opportunity to ask these essential questions; and “A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant, and a Prayer” fits perfectly in that wheelhouse.
Art, like the kind championed at TK Studio, is one of the oldest weapons in the fight against ignorance. To continue a metaphor, if truth is the blade that slices through ignorance, art is the hilt which allows us to wield it. Rebecca Anderson and her fellow TK Actors have done just that with results that are just as relevant today as they would have been twenty years ago.
TK Studio is excited about helping host this crucial conversation and we hope you’ll join us for this event.
Terry Knickerbocker Studio will present A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant, and a Prayer Sunday February 25th at 3:00pm at Terry Knickerbocker Studio.
68 34th St. Building 6 C404
Brooklyn, NY 11232
There will be a presentation at Industry City’s Landing Space on Saturday February 24th at 7:30pm, and Sunday February 25th @ 8:00pm
There will be talkbacks at the end of each performance.
You can purchase tickets HERE
Tickets are $14. All proceeds for the show will go to Voice of Women Organization Project. VOW is a leading, non-profit, women’s right organization that defends and promotes women’s right issues in various capacities. Learn more at: https://vownow.org/