‘Vagina Monologues’ play in Westport raises funds for violence prevention

WESTPORT — A V-Day celebration took place Friday night at the Westport Library when “The Vagina Monologues” was performed.

“This is part of a V-Day initiative,” explained Kerri Gawreluk, a new programming associate with the library, who directed the 14 local performers in this veritable annual gift from author Eve Ensler.

Each February since 1998, the playwright grants free rights to her play to any local community organization that will use the funds that are raised to aid groups fighting to end violence against women and girls.

Thus far, over $120 million has been raised throughout the world.

“It is our honor at this library to take part ... in this artistic global revolution,” Gawreluk told the crowd of 300 or so attendees.

Funds raised from the performance went to The Rowan Center, based in Stamford, and the Domestic Violence Crisis Center, based in Norwalk, both of which aid women in need throughout the county.

Along with the power, humor and strong messages of the play itself, performers enjoyed a unique bonding experience while working together.

“What’s been the most lovely thing is that I didn’t know most of these women,” noted Westport poet laureate Diane Lowman, who has now made a number of new friends among them.

“It’s gratifying,” noted Amy Mandelbaum, of Westport. “I’ve come together with a bunch of strangers ... to sort of unite and become a company (and) for such a great cause.”

“The spirit of this play is rooted in celebration, community, and sharing stories,” Gawreluk said.