March 5, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

V-Day at the Broad Theatre (Victory – Valentine – Vagina):

Editor-at-Large

Violence against women of all ages is a worldwide epidemic and to spotlight this problem, Deborah Kagan and Sacred Interiors are presenting the Obie Award-winning play, The Vagina Monologues, 8p.m. Friday, March 27 at the Broad Theatre. Proceeds will go to Peace Over Violence and the global V-Day Fund.Written by Eve Ensler in 1996, the play is based on interviews with 200 women who expressed their experiences with sex, relationships, and violence with each monologue relating to these subjects. The award-winning performers include Calista Flockhart, Doris Roberts, and Oscar, Emmy, and Golden Globe winner Christine Lahti with whom the Mirror obtained an exclusive interview.Mirror: What motivated you to participate in Vagina Monologues?Lahti: I was approached when it first came out many years ago. Then I met Eve Ensler who wrote the play and originated “V-Day” as a global movement to end violence against women. I supported her in the making of the documentary Until the Violence Stops and then I did the Vagina Monologues in protest over the treatment of women in Juarez, Mexico which at that time had over 325 young women and girls who had been mutilated or missing and there hadn’t been one arrest. So, we were helping to bring awareness to that issue and it continues today. Juarez is just a horrible place in general but one of the worst places on earth for women and girls. They suspect human trafficking and suspect that the police are probably in on it. We did the Vagina Monologues there and it helped raise money for shelters and other women-related issues.Mirror: Did you know anyone who was abused in your own life?Lahti: What woman doesn’t know someone who has been raped or abused in domestic violence? It’s one-in-three they say. I had a roommate in college who was raped at gunpoint in our house. I was gone for the weekend and she was there alone. When I came back, he had just left and she was in shock. She didn’t want to call the police, but I encouraged her to report it which she did. I didn’t see any violence in my home, but some of my girlfriends saw their dads hit their moms. Mirror: What do you think of the impact of emotional or mental abuse?Lahti: That could be equally if not more devastating. Women stay in relationships where they abused because they are convinced that they are of less value. I think our culture teaches girls that they are of less value. Unfortunately, the world is a patriarchy and the father rules and that just something that all women and girls need to be aware of. Because it is a patriarchy, women are devalued. Sexism is so insidious in our culture and our society and everything that girls are taught is that you are only worth your sexuality.Mirror: Strong women usually have difficulty in finding men who are secure enough to be with them. Did you experience that? Lahti: It took me a long time to find a man with whom I could have a partnership. I’ve been married to my husband for almost 26 years. We’re real partners. That said, growing up I saw my mom being supportive of my dad. He was a surgeon and she was a stay-at-home mom. All the mothers of my friends didn’t work and that was really the only option back then. I just thought that was their job – to support the men.Mirror: When did you get the awareness that was not the path for you?Lahti: I guess in college. I read Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique and I realized that even as a hippie protesting the Vietnam War, we women were not the ones out there with the megaphones or holding the banners. We were still making the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. That was before the women’s movement really took hold and we were still second-class citizens. Then when I was in New York struggling to become an actress, I realized what I really wanted more than anything was to be a first-class citizen as a human being and as an actress. Mirror: How did this affect the roles you chose?Lahti: All the choices in my career have been to get respect. It wasn’t about fame or fortune. I wanted to always portray women in a three-dimensional way and never play a sex object. I don’t mind playing a sexy woman but not someone who is just a two-dimensional sex object. Mirror: Did you turn down a lot of roles?Lahti: Yes I did and some of them went one to make other actresses really famous and rich but I couldn’t have done them because of my feminist ideals and values. But I have no regrets because I would not have been able to sleep at night if I had accepted some of those roles which I won’t name because I don’t want to make anyone look bad. Although I had to sell out a few so I could pay the rent, I am proud of the choices I’ve made. Mirror: Given your very successful career, what’s the greatest challenge you face as a wife and mother?Lahti: If you try to do it all, you compromise a bit. You miss a few of the kids’ plays or a few soccer games and you might not be able to take a couple of jobs that would take you too far away from the kids. I say to my kids that being a mother has made me a better actress and being an actress has made me a better mom. Having a career that I’m passionate about and having a family that I’m passionate about really helps.Mirror: Have you had one role that has had a profound effect on you?Lahti: My favorite movie was Housekeeping. It was the timing in my life and it one of the greatest parts. It was a turning point as I achieved my career goals and it was then that I started to think about wanting a family.Mirror: Well, thank you so much. See you on Friday at the Broad Theatre.Lahti: It was a pleasure meeting you.

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