By Tenzin Sangmo
19th DRIFT READS on The Vagina Monologues
DHARAMSHALA, May 9: Dharamshala Residential and International Festival for Theatre (DRIFT) presented its 19th Drift Reads on The Vagina Monologues
by Eve Ensler, an episodic play written, developed and premiered in New York 1996.
Five DRIFT women artistes presented the monologues in Hindi, Tibetan and English at "The Other Space," Illiterati art & co-work on Jogiwara Road, Dharamshala, with the portraits from David Zimmerman’s One Voice as the backdrop.
Donning traditional Tibetan and Indian attires, the artistes read excerpts from the play focusing on the general perception of Vagina, its self-cleaning nature, personal experience, lesbian sex and women’s sexuality in general.
The group said the play was about breaking taboos. “The excerpts have moved us and touched us deeply, personally, in saying we shouldn't be ashamed of our bodies. And though it is especially about women and their bodies, it is also profoundly human.”
Dawa Sangmo, a Tibetan member of the group who read excerpts in Tibetan said she felt uncomfortable at the beginning about reading the excerpts in Tibetan but practice and the subsequent internalizing empowered her.
"The Vagina Monologues" is made up of various personal monologues read by a diverse group of women. Each of the monologues deals with an aspect of the feminine experience, touching on matters such as sex, sex work, body image, love, rape, menstruation, female genital mutilation, masturbation, birth, orgasm, the various common names for the vagina or simply as a physical aspect of the body.
Jyotsna Sarah George, one of the readers said she was overwhelmed by the responses she got for her social media post asking for different names for the vagina across cultures and said the group incorporated as many as they could in the reading today.
DRIFT is an initiative of the Pocket Company and its artistic Director Niranjani Iyer. Over the past three years, it organized performances, workshops and talks as well as school outreach programs with local schools in Dharamshala.