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April 1, 2010

‘Vagina Monologues’ begin tonight


BY MICHELLE MILLER
STAFF WRITER

A cast of women will be entering the forbidden zone in hopes of raising awareness and money for violence against women.

These women will be taking the stage to tell other women’s stories of intimacy, vulnerability and sexual self-discovery at 7:30 p.m. at the Smithy Pioneer Gallery tonight, Friday and Saturday.

“The Vagina Monologues,” written by Eve Ensler, will be shared for the fourth time in Cooperstown. Although performed in cities all over the world, director Rebecca Burk- Sciallo said the topic can still be controversial.

``I am very proud of this community,’’ said Burk-Sciallo. ``Cooperstown has been very open and receiving in supporting our mission to put on a show to create awareness and raise money for a good cause.’’

Burk-Sciallo said hundreds of college campuses put on performances of “The Vagina Monologues,” but communities can also participate in giving a voice to women’s deepest fantasies and fears in order to stop violence against women.

The goal is to create awareness and to educate, she said.

The cost of admission is $10, which includes a ticket for an auction fundraiser. According to Burk-Sciallo, 10 percent of the proceeds go to a ``spotlight’’ campaign. This year’s “spotlight campaign” is women in the Congo. Burk-Sciallo said the rest of the funds will be donated to Opportunities for Otsego for its violence intervention program and to help fund the creation of an organization in Cooperstown.

According to Burk-Sciallo, the organization will be called the Cooperstown Warriors and will host its own self-defense classes, self-esteem workshops and other workshops that will help young men and women make healthy life choices. Burk-Sciallo said the goal is to have the organization running by June.

Most years the cast is typically made up of high school students, but Burk-Sciallo said auditions have always been open to the general public.

This year, Misty Miller is the only community member who will be performing. Miller said she has been a victim, so it is important for her to help others who have also been sufferers and those that could fall victim of violence.

“It does happen, and it needs to be addressed,” said Miller.

Miller said this will be her first time participating in “The Vagina Monologues.” She said she is not afraid of the spotlight because she has some experience in theater and performing in front of an audience.

Miller said the subject does not make her uncomfortable because she has seen monologues performed in the past and knew what she was getting herself into.

“If I had never heard of it or seen it before then that might have been different,’’ she said. “It’s an amazing experience to do the show. It makes me feel like a real part of the community,” added Miller.

Brii Sperbeck, a senior at Schenevus Central School, said this will mark her first year performing in The Vagina Monologues.

Sperbeck said when she was a little girl she had two friends who were sexually abused. She said her mother had a feeling it was happening and would not allow her to go visit the friends’ home. At that time, Sperbeck said she did not understand the reasoning behind why she could not visit her friends, but learned the truth years later and understood.

“I want to be able to get the word out before the fact, not after,’’ said Sperbeck.

The senior said many students at her school asked stereotypical questions while she was hanging posters on the wall to promote the monologues.

However, she said a lot of the students said they wanted to come see the performance once she explained what it was all about and that is was to create awareness.

For more information about women’s violence and ways to take action visit v-day.org.