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My Short Skirt take two

As I've (just) said, and this is a linkage to the last post, all of these are in honor of KIOTA BANDAL, EVERGREEN CLASS OF 2011, and of ALYSSA LEADER, HARVARD 2015.


VAGINA MONOLOGUES is a collection of sketches drawn from interviews conducted by Eve Ensler: a performance piece done intercontinentally for the last 15 years or so.

Here's what Shelene says in her book Act From the Inside Out: Powerful Acting Tools to Transform Your Real Life:

"My Short Skirt is a Monologue in which [the performer] declares she has the right to wear a short skirt without having it mean she's giving men permission to harass her on the street. Hundreds of women have performed these Monologues during the past decade, and almost all of them say [it's been empowering.]"

:Shelene Atanacio, who writes that one girl who performed this had been gang-raped in high school, and that the actor felt that performing the short piece had been a healing experience.

I've had three contacts with the play, two pretty intimate: First, I designed sets and lights for the 2003 show at UVM and ran the control board for each of the three perfs. There are some set shots, blurry because the producer was using a disposable camera which could not focus well.
Our set was a "shrine" thirty-five feet wide, twenty deep, and thirteen feet high, with risers in front of it where all 36 of the cast sat all during the perf, reacting to the monologues when they were not performing them, some as duets. met the 2003 director again in 2004 at her NYU Grad School of Ed show; and Alyssa Leader's face was right there in the headlines a couple of weeks ago...

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Alyssa is the woman with close-cropped brown hair and she's obviously not in director nor performer costume, she's in court sitting in front of mikes attacking Harvard on 15 February 2016, one day after her show last year, which I attended, and where I met her and talked with her briefly.

She produced and directed her show in a small black-box theatre where you were invited to sit right down with them on "couches and cushions [which] are made available to the audience in order to recreate an intimate conversation rather than the one-sided experience of viewing a play" said the student newspaper. Alyssa last year: "It's a chance to have a lot of conversations that aren't really being had." And Brenna McDuffie, also a senior last year and a cast member: "It's going to be a much more intimate production of the show than it was two years ago at Harvard..." (They do it biennally there, where many schools do it each year, as consciousness-raisers and fundraisers for women's support programs.)

A third Harvard cast member, whose cultural background is from India, comments that "The message of sexual empowerment is is a metaphor for other forms of empowerment, like being who you are."


So what is Alyssa doing in court a year after she graduated?

Evidence shows that all the while she was putting together her show, she was being followed and sexually harassed by "John Doe", as he's known in court, who was a former lover and who determined not to be "former" anymore, after Alyssa had ended their relationship. He lived in the same dorm and pursued her in the dorm dining hall, where she worked. Harvard told her they could not do anything about it, like move him to any other dorm (called "House" in campus lingo.) She had to go downtown, to Cambridge Civil Court, to get an injunction and a Restraining Order against him, and if any of you reading this have ever had to do that, you know how well it usually worked.

So she has followed all of this up, did not let it die at 2015 graduation, because being attacked lasts forever, healing is ongoing and takes you years, and if nobody wants to listen to your story, then you damn well could FORCE them to, in court, if you can summon up your courage, which many do. Sometimes by writing right here in these pages, and/or more publicly in the courts and in the media. Your choice.

Your choice, that's the important point.

YAY for Alyssa.

More to come, this is a MultiPart entry!


kiota too late for the stars
Moonfire Marion Bridge / Brad

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