South Shore women stand up to violence with "Vagina Monologues"
When Pamela Taylor saw the first South Shore production of “Vagina Monologues” 11 years ago, the passion of the women performing amazed her.
South Lake Tahoe actresses – many of whom had never recited lines in front of an audience before – were on stage making a stand against violence, and Taylor wanted to be a part of the action.
So she joined the cast the following year and has directed the play, which is comprised of a series of monologues told by women, since 2004.
“It’s something that affects all of our lives. I think we can all agree that violence has to stop,” Taylor said.
Sixteen women between the ages of 8 and 65 will perform Eve Ensler’s “Vagina Monologues” next weekend at the Blue Angel Cafe. This year’s production is especially meaningful to Taylor since she’ll be performing former South Lake Tahoe resident Joy Rothschild’s long-running monologue, “The Flood.”
Rothschild, an activist who once worked alongside Cesar Chavez, first introduced Taylor to the “Vagina Monologues.” Rothschild would always act the same piece, a powerful excerpt called “The Flood” that is based on Ensler’s conversation with a 72-year-old woman.
When Rothschild passed away last fall, Taylor wanted to celebrate her life by performing the same skit.
“I’m honored to be keeping her memory alive by doing that piece,” she said.
Ensler created the “Vagina Monologues” after interviewing more than 200 woman from diverse backgrounds and ages. The result – a play that sends a clear message to stop violence, Taylor said.
Taylor joined about 70 other men and women Thursday for Tahoe’s first-ever One Billion Rising flash mob at the base of the Heavenly Mountain Resort gondola, a event inspired by Ensler’s play. The movement started as a “global strike” against violence, according to the One Billion Rising website.
Communities from Congo to California organized seemingly impromptu dances choreographed by American dancer Debbie Allen and then dispersed throughout with the web. People could memorize the moves online and then rally their town around the cause.
The goal was to inspire one billion people to stand up to violence on V-Day, an international movement that aims to “break the chain” of violence.
Women, including the South Shore’s “Vagina Monologues” cast, walked the streets Thursday asking people why they chose to rise that day. According to Taylor, the interviews revealed some poignant information.
“It surprised me that people I know who are very strong women said they were emotionally abused by their first husband. Emotional abuse does scar you for life, but you can find ways to overcome those scars,” Taylor said.