Knock-Out Play On This Weekend

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If theatre has a place in the heart of your average Namibian, there is still the need for a spark to be ignited, now and again, to rekindle the subtle passion for theatre-lingering in every true African’s bosom, it was announced in a press release. Two courageous and capable women have picked the right theatre play at the right time to achieve just that – broad interest for and acceptance of theatre as a favourite entertainment medium by and amongst the generally abstinent young African and European middle-class. Acceptance? Namibian audiences have been flocking to come and see the ‘Vagina Monologues’, notwithstanding the somewhat shocking title, which has been causing some ripples in a young nation not often exposed in such a way. The two actresses and producers involved, Frieda Karipi and Sampa Kangwa-Wilkie, have done extraordinary work in theatre over the past eight years. In Nam-Talk, they might be labelled legends in their own right, with numerous theatre success stories to their name, both as regards classical theatre pieces (Woza Albert) and original plays (Evil Sister Mary – Frieda Karipi). With ‘Vagina Monologues’ the two have hit the jackpot. Firstly, it packed houses wherever it performed (at the Warehouse twice, once in November 2005 and once in March 2006), and secondly, it has attracted support from the Embassy of Finland which recently signed an agreement with the two and has agreed to fund a project of touring the play in schools throughout Namibia in 2006 and 2007. The ‘Vagina Monologues’ were devised and written by playwright, Eve Ensler, who collected real stories by real women from diverse backgrounds and social standings, who talk about themselves and that real part of the female body – the vagina – and with it about their personal hopes, their hurts, their pride and their joys. The ‘Vagina Monologues’ celebrate female sexuality. Simultaneously, they take a stand against suppression, violation, humiliation. ‘The Monologues’ are – raw and blatant, hilarious, poignant, shocking and sometimes disturbing. The vagina is explored in its entirety and complexity, without taboo. In short, VM is a tribute to the unsung heroine, the vagina, a dark, secret and unknown place, which both sexes fantasize about, which exists and has a life of its own but has been locked up for far too long.

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