BY DONNA SCHMIDT
Once a year in February and March, playwright Eve Ensler allows groups all over the world to produce a performance of her play, The Vagina Monologues, and to use the proceeds for local projects and programs that work to end violence toward women and girls. There are currently over 5,800 events annually. The facilitator of the 2012 production in Rockland County, Arielle Bareket, grew up in Suffern and her dad is a gynecologist in Tallman.
Bareket, a recent college graduate, is an Assistant Farmer at Cropsey Community Farm in New City. “I just put Vagina Monologue fliers out there and held auditions in November,” she explained. “I was in two similar productions in college and it was such a powerful experience for me. There are so many levels of what we are doing. On one level, we have this women’s circle where we can feel comfortable talking about these issues on a more personal level. Then we are raising funds for wonderful organizations in our community.” The 2012 Rockland County Vagina Monologues funds will support the Rockland Family Shelter and Volunteer Counseling Services Inc. of Rockland.
Each year, Ensler writes a spotlight monologue that can be performed. This year’s Spotlight Monologue is called “For My Sisters in Portauprincebukavuneworleasons,” spotlighting the common history of racism, poverty, slavery, colonialism and war that has thrown women into an endless cycle of violence and disempowerment. V-Day’s work in the war-ravaged Democratic Republic of Congo, post-Katrina New Orleans, and the earthquake devastated country of Haiti is to reveal links between these issues and to support women on the ground who are struggling for liberation and a violence-free culture.
The women involved span in age from 18 to approximately 65. “I joined the group to be part of an amazing organization of women who mostly have never professionally acted,” says Buffy Cardoza, one of the Rockland County performers and a photographer who lives in New City. “We are willing to do something so important, slightly embarrassing, and wonderfully entertaining for the sake of women. The show will make you squirm…make you cry…make you laugh and ultimately make you proud to be a woman or support one. Ultimately I am terrified to perform, however I choose to raise awareness about many real current issues, raise funds and to give women a voice.”
“I wanted to do something different,” explained Tamika Adjemian, who acts with the ‘Strange Bedfellows’, an adult troop of the Children’s Shakespeare Theater in Palisades. “It turns out that the monologues are poignant, beautiful and very real.”
When not acting, Tamika runs a small Jam and Preserve business while also teaching all methods of food preservation through her business Belle Jar Canning, sews things to sell, occasionally teaches through Clarkstown Parks and Recreation, cares for 13 chickens, is mom to two young ladies, and married to Daniel Hanchrow.
The Vagina Monologues will be performed at the Student Union Center Building at Rockland Community College March 15-17 at 7 p.m. Doors open at 7 p.m. for a fair featuring raffles, merchandise, live music etc. The show begins at 8pm.
(Donna Schmidt is currently the President/Owner of a small publishing company, and is a frequent contributor to local publications and blogs.)