V-Day Español Austin returns for a fourth year with a performance of playwright Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues” translated into Spanish.
The local production of “Los Monólogos de la Vagina” runs this Friday and Saturday at the Radisson Hotel near the Highland Mall (6000 Middle Fiskville Rd.). The performance was originally scheduled for the nearby Monarch Event Center, but recently moved venues.
Performers at last year’s Monólogos
The $15 dollar tickets can be purchased at the door or online at Now Playing Austin. The proceeds from each performance will benefit Arte Sana, a national Latina-led nonprofit committed to ending sexual violence.
“We thought that the monólogos should be brought in Spanish to our Latino community,” said Veronica Hernandez, the production’s director. “So here we are, four seasons later, still talking about vaginas and liberating Austin.”
It’s never been a stretch for a Latina woman to be defined by her sexuality. She’s the voluptuous firecracker in skin-tight clothes who’s loyal to her man and amigas, as played by Eva Longoria on Desperate Housewives. Or, she’s more likely to be known for a physical asset—googling J. Lo’s derriere will get you over a two million results.
In reality, though, sex and sexuality is not something talked about among many Latinas and their mothers.
“I think that talking about your sexuality, your vaginas and your body parts, you know—it’s very taboo in our Latino community,” Hernandez said. “So we believe that it was time to break that silence and actually start talking about our bodies.”
Performer Hilda Gutierrez’s monologue about the deaths of women in Juarez, Mexico, left her wanting to bring awareness.
“For me, it was really critical that I did not only a violence against women piece, but also a piece that was empowering,” Gutierrez said. “What I take away form this situation is just trying to think about how we can honor and praise and support each other as women.”
The monologues have been translated into 65 languages. Hernandez said the Spanish monologues are the same as the ones performed in Mexico City or any other Spanish-speaking country, though the scripts are “tweaked for localism.”
Hernandez pairs the performers with their monologues and works with the women to get them feeling comfortable with the content or even the language.
“The girls are very easy to work with,” Hernandez said. “They say they are not actresses, but in my eyes they are because they bring the monologues like no other.”
Performer Stephanie Gatica appreciates the kind words but admits she needed her fair share of coaching.
“I had to have a lot of personal rehearsals, and I had to get them to give me the stage direction in English and Spanish because I didn’t know where I was going,” she said.
Gatica’s monologue centers around a mother’s conversation with her daughter, and her asking her child questions about her vagina.
“Being a mom, I enjoyed mine because it was like I was speaking to my daughter, so that kind of hit home,” Gatica said.
Hernandez, the director, said the performances are equal parts sad and celebratory.
“We hope that the audience can reflect on the performance that we’re giving, the literature that we’re reading,” she said. “We just hope that they pull good things from whatever monolougue and make positive changes in their own communities, and their own lives. If there is violence going on in their own family that they are able to break the silence, feel empowered.”