Tita-GreatScott Productions and Maui Academy of Performing Arts blasted through barriers last Sunday with their production of Eve Ensler's "The Vagina Monologues." A series of monologues inspired by real women's stories, "The Vagina Monologues" explores how women talk (or don't talk) about their vaginas and what this reveals about women's equality, security and sexual freedom.
The show was one of thousands of productions of "The Vagina Monologues" as part of V-Day 2011, a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. The Tita-GreatScott production was a benefit for Women Helping Women, a nonprofit organization providing emergency shelter and programs for victims of domestic violence in the County of Maui.
For a show that dealt with the abuse and marginalization of women, its message was surprisingly positive. It was as much a celebration of women's bodies, emotions and sexuality as it was a condemnation of sexual violence and stigmatization.
‘The Vagina Monologues’ cast: Marilynn Hirashima (from left), Sondengi Mills, Kristi Scott, Rochelle Dunning and Kathy Collins.
The show also resisted the tendency to place the blame entirely on men, pointing out that women - mothers, female doctors and even female marriage counselors - can be equally responsible for perpetuating the insecurity and shame that surrounds sexuality for many women and girls.
The talented "Vaginistas" were Kathy Collins, Rochelle Dunning, Marilynn Hirashima, Sodengi Mills and Kristi Scott. Collins performed her monologues with brilliant energy and timing. Her sexy sound effects had the audience moaning with laughter. Dunning was spot-on as a sassy old woman recalling painful memories of a sexual mishap in her youth. Hirashima evoked the wonder of vaginal birth in "I Was There in the Room." Mills was touching and authentic as a girl recalling an unconventional but healing sexual encounter with an older woman. Scott's performance of "My Vagina Was My Village," a woman's reaction to surviving brutal serial rape, was beautifully done and heartbreaking.
The production team included sound and light board operator Andrea Finkelstein and house and stage manager Vicki Sparkman. Kathy Collins and Kristi Scott were co-producers.
To support Women Helping Women in its mission to end domestic violence and offer safety, support and empowerment to its victims, visit whwmaui.net or mail a check to Women Helping Women, 1935 Main St., Suite 202, Wailuku 96793.
PHILADANCO: Philadelphia Dance Co. (PHILADANCO) is celebrated for its innovation, creativity and preservation of predominantly African-American traditions in dance for the past four decades. This year's program includes Jawole Willa Jo Zollar's "By Way of the Funk," a new work set to the music of Parliament-Funkadelic that harnesses the energy and culture of funk music.
PHILADANCO comes to the Maui Arts & Cultural Center's Castle Theater at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 1. Tickets are $12, $28 and $38, plus applicable fees, available from the MACC box office, 242-7469, or www.MauiArts.org
Maui Academy of Performing Arts Spring Break Performing Arts Camps: MAPA is offering two spring break camps for elementary school students at the MAPA studios in downtown Wailuku. Students in the Spring Break Dance Camp will learn dance skills in ballet, tap, hip-hop, memorization, flexibility, coordination and teamwork. Taught by Rebecca Owen and geared for students ages 6-10, the dance camp runs 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 14 to 18. The camp culminates in a performance for family and friends on the final day. Tuition for the dance camp is $175 for the week.
In the Spring Break Song & Story Drama Camp, taught by Eva Sikes and Adam Burke, students ages 5 to 9 will explore the magic of song and stories by learning music fundamentals, playing drama games and acting out stories. The camp runs 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. March 14 to18 and culminates in a performance for family and friends. Tuition for the camp is $175 for the week. The camps accommodate beginners as well as experienced performers. MAPA's spring break camps often sell out, so register early! To register, visit mauiacademy.org or call 244-8760.
Aszure Barton & Artists: Brazen, fearless, tough and sexy, Aszure Barton is an exciting new voice in contemporary dance. She has been commissioned to choreograph new works for Mikhail Baryshnikov, Fang-Yi Sheu, Sydney Dance Company, the Juilliard School, Les Ballets Jazz de Montral, Martha Graham Dance Company, American Ballet Theatre II and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, among others. From her eclectic musical choices (ranging from French Canadian folk to Vivaldi) to the casual and conversational tone of her original, funky dance vocabulary, Barton's movement is like nothing else you've ever seen before.
Aszure Barton & Artists hit Castle Theater at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 31. Tickets are $12, $25 and $32, plus applicable fees, available as above.
Kathy Griffin at the MACC: Kathy Griffin hits Maui with her rapid-fire wit Sunday, April 10, at Castle Theater. Griffin is a two-time Emmy Award winner (for "My Life on the D-List), Grammy Award nominee (for Best Comedy Album) and a New York Times best-selling author (for "Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According Kathy Griffin"). She's coming to Hawaii, and no one in Hollywood is safe. Celebrity blunders and Tinseltown gossip are fuel for the hilarious sketches that have kept audiences laughing for years.
Kathy Griffin performs at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, April 10, at Castle Theater. Tickets are $36, $46, $56 and $66, plus applicable fees, available as above.