Who said that?

The Vagina Monologues—auditions

Micha Marie Stevens stifles a chuckle at early auditions for <i>The Vagina Monologues</i>.

Micha Marie Stevens stifles a chuckle at early auditions for The Vagina Monologues.

Photo By David Robert

Behind the controversy, embarrassed smirks and knowing smiles that spread at the mention of The Vagina Monologues, there is a steadfast, serious theme embedded deep within this bittersweet comedy-and-drama dichotomy: a demand and a driving force to stop global violence against women and girls.

While the title alone tends to inflame, incite or offend certain people of delicate senisbilities. The Jan. 5, 2008, auditions for Eve Ensler’s audacious, critically-acclaimed play will surely soothe, enlighten and empower many more. Carson City’s Wild Horse Productions is one of a limited number of theaters selected to offer a very special performance of The Vagina Monologues, commemorating the 10th anniversary of V-Day. This around-the-world effort takes a zero-tolerance stand against rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation and sexual slavery.

Translated into 45 languages and performed in some 119 countries around the globe, funds raised by Wild Horse’s March 14-15 performances of TVM will be donated to local organizations that champion violence prevention and education—like Advocates to End Domestic Violence.

“We wanted to find something we could do to benefit the community,” says Wild Horse Productions executive director Carol Scott, adding that they’re looking for women of all shapes, sizes, creeds and colors—with a minimum age of 18, due to the story’s mature subject matter. “Part of our mission is to be a community-based organization, and educate people—not only in the arts, but to bring awareness.”

Scott says Wild Horse is limited to “two, royalty-free performances, so hopefully we’ll sell out.”

No theater experience or preparation is required for the auditions, and for the privilege of participating in the 10th anniversary benefit performance of TVM, Wild Horse agreed not to alter nor deter from the original script.

“[We] have to do it word-for-word,” explains Micha Marie Stevens, the 29-year-old director. “It’s important not to tamper because these are things that have actually happened to people. [The story is] more about the women and not the theatrics. The playwright is so specific, and it’s written for women by women, so I don’t want to stray from what the playwright intends because that’s the piece. It’s kind of a freeing experience for some women that haven’t had a voice. So [performing] makes it safe.”

Everyone who shows up to audition will have the opportunity to be part of the production.

“If there is a huge turnout, we may be able to actually double-cast it and have two different shows,” Stevens says. “If only five people show up, I’ve got that covered, too. It’s not about being a professional actress. It’s more about connecting and speaking from the heart. So you gotta have heart.”

Wild Horse promises that men with heart are welcome, too, though males who want to get involved will be given backstage duties.

While some may blush or balk at actually speaking the play’s title, the female forces driving Wild Horse’s special production of The Vagina Monologues believe that it’s the other v-word that shouldn’t go unmentioned: violence. A spirit of unity will be fostered, Stevens says, through the power of the story, and give the audience the opportunity to reach out to the voiceless, both here at home and far away.

“When they leave the theater, they actually have something to talk about.”