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My Short Skirt take five

Eve Ensler writing a Vagina Monologue:

My Short Skirt
is not an invitation
a provocation
an indication
that i want it
or give it
or that i hook.

My short skirt
is not begging for it
it does not want you
to rip it off me
or pull it up or down.

My short skirt
is not a legal reason
for raping me
although it has been before
it will not hold up
in the new court.

My short skirt
believe it or not
has nothing to do with you.

My short skirt
is about discovering
the power of my calves
about cool autumn air traveling
up my inner thighs
about allowing everything I see
or pass or feel to live inside.

My short skirt
is not proof
that I am stupid
or undecided
or a malleable little girl.

My short skirt
is my defiance.
I will not let you make me afraid.
My short skirt is not showing off,
this is who I am
before you made me cover it or tone it down.
Get used to it.


My short skirt is happiness.
I can feel myself on the ground.
I am here.
I am hot.
My short skirt is a liberation flag
in the women's army.
I declare these streets, any streets,
my vagina's country.

My short skirt
is turquoise water with swimming coloured fish
a summer festival in the starry dark
a bird calling
a train arriving in a foreign town.
My short skirt is a wild spin,
a full breath, a tango dip.
My short skirt
is initiation, appreciation, excitation.

But mainly My Short Skirt
and everything under it
is mine.
Mine.
Mine.


< > < > < > < > < > < > < > < > < >

Here's the full script of what we've been talking about.

From a dramatic presentational standpoint, which involves lights that can move against a set that can't, the challenge is to make it interesting. Otherwise, only the actors' friends will cheer any one scene.

I don't recall what the movement was that Kristi Lonardo (M.Ed., UVM 2003; co-director) created for this scene -- but, like all the others, no one just stood up there and recited words.

And this recalls the feeling of empowerment that I talked about in an earlier post in this series Some of these women really got into it. In rehearsal, I'd never seen some of the things that were being done with microphone stands.

One interesting thing in the development of the script was that as years went by, Ensler and Co. were strongly pressured to add scenes for male performers (who can become survivors just like women are), then allow individual college groups to add their own scenes or to edit hers as appropriate to their own campus worlds. What I recall is that in the last 12 years things like this were approved, approved with conditions, or delayed. But the main thrust was to present an evening both of empowerment and of financial success in terms of contributions to local women's support projects --- so, whatever would help that effort... The intention was to keep tix prices low, in 2003 ours were $8-$10, we had room for lots of groups and vendors to hand out samples and brochures in the chapel foyer, just like Harvard did in their theatre lobby (small, like the space itself), in 2015.

Getting the messages out --- that was the important thing. In a way you'd never forget.

Our case was unbelievable (and unrepeatable, as it turned out): we played to 2500 people in three days and the Women's Center reported that they had cleared $50,000 in donations, many after the show came down. Some tix were given out free, either b/c someone had bought them as public donations, or because campus faculties gave them out free to their kids. The lighting/set budgets went way over, some of the kids and I made personal donations to cover the shortfalls.

I think I've said how exciting this was -- to have all these collaborators. Many designers would get all snippy about kids infringing on their territory (and pro union rules would NEVER allow it) --- but not this designer, we were all on the same hot wavelength and it was one joy after another.

And you could actually WATCH the empowerment going on, right in front of you. It's resonating with me after 13 years, and so will Harvard's. After one.

This is no longer an act, and Alyssa is not on a stage, but in a courtroom, but the empowerment is perhaps even more dramatic and powerful. It's life-changing for her, now in a healing way, and it can also be that for anyone who follows her story.

Kiota was working toward the same goal -- empowerment -- in all that she did with clients at TeenHelp and in her writing, and especially in telling what she remembered of her own tragedy to a class, in public. "I was so flustered... I guess I better get used to it if I'm going to publish this shit in a memoir... people had really nice things to say about it."

Of course she had shared what she could with us in her LJ Friendslocked group, and what that was, was painful and hopeful at the same time.

May we all find helpful Guidance and peace, each one of us.

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