Last year, when the Grassrooted Trust performed on V-Day it used monologues written by world renowned authors. With its strong ensemble cast, ‘A Memory. A Monologue. A Rant and a Prayer: Writings to End Violence Against Women and Girls’ featured narratives from all over the world.
It was a success: a sold out show raised Rs. 50,000 for the Women’s Development Centre in Kandy. This year, directors Anuruddha Fernando and Hans Billimoria have returned with another batch of stories intended to raise awareness about problems women face. But this time, they’re hitting even closer home.
The seven monologues have been written by Sri Lankans living and working in the murky field of sexual and reproductive health and rights in Sri Lanka. They will also be performed by Sri Lankans, as the cast includes actors from both English and Sinhala drama traditions. Their success last year has inspired the Grassrooted Trust to push forward, say the organisers.
At this year’s ‘V DAY’ they will focus on “Sri Lankan stories that discuss not only conventional forms of violence against women and girls, such as rape, battery, incest and sexual slavery, but also more unconventional, far less reported forms of violence, stemming from patriarchy, and cultural hypocrisy.”
The dates they’ve chosen are not without significance. April is the month where the Island celebrates the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, an event linked closely to the paddy harvest and which is seen as a celebration of the earth’s fertility. Women have always been central to this period of festivity, say the organisers adding, “today, women are respected, and even venerated, provided they have conformed to the stereotype of what we identify as a “good” Sri Lankan woman.
” If one were to consider the Island’s history, one could find a time in which women were treated with more respect, they contend. “Women were more than just mothers and wives, they had strong independent identities. Women in 2012, due to the influence of Western forms of patriarchy, stemming from religion, have lost ground, and we hope that V-DAY 2012 will be a step towards once again celebrating the woman in all her avatars.”
V-DAY 2012 – Writings to end Violence Against Women and Girls in Sri Lanka’, will be staged on Sunday, April 1 at the Maradana Warehouse Project.