The first French Vagina Monologues, or Les Monologues des Vagin, wrapped up two evening presentations at the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre on Monday and Tuesday night to considerable fanfare, organizers said.
The Vagina Monologues, marking its 25th anniversary this year, is a play created in the ’90s by Eve Ensler. It’s based on 200 interviews with women who discuss various sexual and bodily experiences they have had in their lives. Some stories involve tragic elements, such as sexual assault, while others are more celebratory. The production encourages women to better celebrate and love their bodies through shared experience.
Andréanne Simard, a francophone multidisciplinary artist in Yellowknife, directed the play, which has been translated by Louise Marleau.
Simard said this week that she’s pleased with the performances and the response to her effort with the famous play. Currently NACC can only hold 50 people due to public health restrictions, and both nights were sold out. Another 20 or more people watched via Zoom.
The play included nine women and one man involved as comedians and readers.
Participants have been practising every Tuesday since January at Bella Dance Academy for this week’s performances as they mark International Women’s Day, which coincides with the beginning of the month-long Rendez-vous de la Francophonie.
“It’s been really amazing and it has been a long time that we haven’t had theatre here in French or in Yellowknife with a troupe from here,” Simard said.
She added that she’s a strong feminist and has wanted to use art and communication to encourage women not to be shy about discussing things of such a personal nature.
Mayor Rebecca Alty, one of the play’s participants, was involved in the English version of the Vagina Monologues in Yellowknife between 2008 and 2011. She said the play, regardless of the language, is always a positive way for women to support each other when they have questions about their bodies.
“It’s a good opportunity for women to get together and assess and share common concerns,” Alty said. “I think it involves a realization that we have a lot of commonalities but without talking about it, you may think you’re not normal. From the audience perspective, being able to share these stories brings to life a lot of these subjects that are normal but things we never talked about.
“So it’s a really good opportunity to get people thinking and talking and questioning why they’re having certain thoughts about their body.”