From Cindy…

As part of the follow-up report for the V-Day campaign, I asked the cast to detail how the project impacted their lives (if they wished to contribute). Once again, these women blew me away. Their testimonials were so heartfelt and beautiful, I asked if I could share them. It’s easy to understand the positive impact that our fundraising had on our beneficiary organization, but it’s hard to grasp how the making of the actual production greatly influenced the lives of those involved.

Over the next few days I’ll be posting some of the cast testimonials, I encourage you to leave a comment. We’d love to hear your feedback! -Andrea
Cindy’s Testimonial:
This project has been a beautiful treasure in my life. Graduating from an all-women hight school and being a woman’s studies minor in college, I have never under-estimated the power of ‘women in groups.’ Yet, as an adult I have made less opportunities to – see such a thing in action!! Our cast was simply – love. As a whole, we were an open book within our group and onward. We shared stories of hardship and of happiness- we truly became a UNIT. And our respect for each other made everything that we did on stage all that more poignant.
The Monologues themselves were also life-changing– I felt as though we really got to know them women who owned those memories. And our audience got to know those women too… hopefully, shedding permanent light on issues they would have felt distant from otherwise. Through the Vagina Monologues- I came to love my vagina! I never had a problem with her… but now, gosh- she’s got much more personality!!
I believe much of this production’s success can be attributed to our director, Andrea Bertola.. From the 1st minute, she fostered an environment of love, safety, support and even-affection. Our director, Andrea Bertola, walked us through activities at the top of every rehearsal- which reminded us why we were there- who we were there for- what we were hoping to accomplish…both for ourselves and for women across the globe. Andrea Bertola’s vision for this show excited us!! She made us feel alive and important- she taught us to believe in our RALLY and that if our words could affect one audience member, we were accomplished. I think Andrea Bertola’s approachable, current vision for the show- screams how talented she is as a director, a creative visionary, and a medium between experience and art. I am so proud to have worked with this director- she, and her vagina, are very special!
-Cindy Keenan
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From Frances…

As part of the follow-up report for the V-Day campaign, I asked the cast to detail how the project impacted their lives (if they wished to contribute). Once again, these women blew me away. Their testimonials were so heartfelt and beautiful, I asked if I could share them. It’s easy to understand the positive impact that our fundraising had on our beneficiary organization, but it’s hard to grasp how the making of the actual production greatly influenced the lives of those involved.

Over the next few days I’ll be posting some of the cast testimonials, I encourage you to leave a comment. We’d love to hear your feedback! -Andrea
Frances’ Testimonial:
This project has impacted my life in so many ways. First, as a woman approaching her 60’s it’s a tremendous validation that aging is what you make of it. We all have choices, and no matter what stage of your life you’re approaching, we all have the ability, the capability to contribute to our society. This project has inspired me to continue to raise awareness of violence against women; despite the reproachful remarks I received from family members for participating in this show, they were moved by its message when they attended the performance.
Another impact this project has had on my life is that I now have a group of women whose passion, promise, and pride have instilled in me a renewed sense of purpose and drive. All doubts about my ability to perform (as an actor) have faded away and I am willing and able to get out and DO IT!
Perhaps the biggest impact this project has had on my life is to once again, realize the beauty and joy theater brings to our world. How the arts are such a viable part of the human existence. How we can transform a person’s existence with a blink of an eye, a flicker of hope, a message of love. It truly can change the world. After Saturday’s encore performance, a 76-year-old woman approached me with her walker. Anne Cunningham told me how The Flood was a telling reflection of how older women perceive their sexuality; in fact, she commented how the entire production provided an overview of Women, Womyn, Woman. She said that she started the first women’s rescue center in Staten Island in 1973 which remains opened to this day. As past a NOW president, she said, “We need to do MORE of this.”
In the same week we performed our show, a Bosnian soldier who ordered the rape and murder of Muslim men, boys, and women was captured and brought to justice at the Hague. A woman was raped by two NYC police officers. They were acquitted; however, they were fired by the force with no pension. The woman spoke out and encouraged other victims to step forward because she felt that the love and support she received from people, strangers who sent her messages of love served as her justice. We must remain alert and aware that the human condition is what we make of it and that we must be steadfast in our mission to end the violence.
The entire performance process was carefully planned and organized. Communication was candid, clear, and concise. The entire staff, but particularly, its director was organized; it was her artistic vision that brought us to a satisfying- beyond- one’s- imagination completion.
Technical tools such as her website, calendar, and emails allowed communication to be swift and direct. Rehearsals were planned out ahead of time; objectives were clearly stated; time allotment was structured to allow feedback, questions, and concerns from all cast members. Those who might have felt embarrassed to speak in front of the group for whatever reason were encouraged to speak to the director privately.
Rehearsals included viable preparations that not only allowed experimental exploration, but also a clear sense of purpose to each exercise. Time was never wasted, but there was always a feeling that we could connect at any given moment to a cathartic aha! Clearly, the director pored over the script and knew exactly what she wanted; yet, she was always sensitive to each member’s need and had the know-how and empathy to move each and every one of us to be our best.
Perhaps the most useful time was spent with the director in her apartment rehearsing the monologues in one-on-one sessions. This allowed for individual undivided attention as well as a shared opportunity to tap into each and every playwriting insight. This was when I realized the full potential of not only my abilities as an actor, but also the depth of my character’s voice, her need to tell, and the urgency with which she needed to speak her message for that day, in that time, for that moment.
There is so much more I can say about Andrea Bertola as the director and organizer of this project, but perhaps the most important quality is her clear sense of purpose. Her passion and commitment and belief in the goodness of the world and in each and every human being was palpable and served as its beacon for the cast, its audience, and for those victims whose voices cannot be heard.

Respectfully submitted,
Frances L. McGarry, Ph.D.
Theater Education Consultant
June 6, 2011

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From Justine…

As part of the follow-up report for the V-Day campaign, I asked the cast to detail how the project impacted their lives (if they wished to contribute). Once again, these women blew me away. Their testimonials were so heartfelt and beautiful, I asked if I could share them. It’s easy to understand the positive impact that our fundraising had on our beneficiary organization, but it’s hard to grasp how the making of the actual production greatly influenced the lives of those involved.

Over the next few days I’ll be posting some of the cast testimonials, I encourage you to leave a comment. We’d love to hear your feedback! -Andrea
Justine’s Testimonial:
Dear Andrea,
Words can’t really express what this experience means to me. I walked into the audition a scared girl and walked out of our last performance a confident woman. We, as a cast, promoted an atmosphere of love and support. That could not have happened without your eternal positivity, purpose, and drive. We WERE the examples of how to combat violence against women- by building other women up, accepting them, rooting for them, and loving them- when so many people are trying to do the opposite to women.
As a director, you allowed me to make mistakes while making me feel like a rock star when I succeeded. I couldn’t ask for a better combination from a director, or a loved one!
Thank YOU! Tell Eve Ensler you KICKED BUTT! You expressed your unique vision with professionalism, class and poise!
Love,
Justine

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From Avel….

As part of the follow-up report for the V-Day campaign, I asked the cast to detail how the project impacted their lives (if they wished to contribute). Once again, these women blew me away. Their testimonials were so heartfelt and beautiful, I asked if I could share them. It’s easy to understand the positive impact that our fundraising had on our beneficiary organization, but it’s hard to grasp how the making of the actual production greatly influenced the lives of those involved.

Over the next few days I’ll be posting some of the cast testimonials, I encourage you to leave a comment. We’d love to hear your feedback! -Andrea
Avel’s Testimonial:

Dear Andrea,
This production has meant more to me than I ever could have imagined.
I have not felt like such an important part of something SO MAJOR in, well maybe ever. This was the most amazing, talented, energetic, funny, loving, beautiful, successful, motivated and inspirational group of women I have ever met. This union was no coincidence. We were all meant to be in each other’s lives in one way or another.
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Your’s Andrea, is made from steel. Bulletproof, unyielding and indestructible.
Your vision was clear. Your direction was purposeful. This was such a success, not only because you saw all of our potential, but because you believe in what The Vagina Monologues stands for.
I am a better actress, women and friend because of this experience.
Thank you!
Love always,
Avel Juliette Horn-Muller
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From Sue…

As part of the follow-up report for the V-Day campaign, I asked the cast to detail how the project impacted their lives (if they wished to contribute). Once again, these women blew me away. Their testimonials were so heartfelt and beautiful, I asked if I could share them. It’s easy to understand the positive impact that our fundraising had on our beneficiary organization, but it’s hard to grasp how the making of the actual production greatly influenced the lives of those involved.

Over the next few days I’ll be posting some of the cast testimonials, I encourage you to leave a comment. We’d love to hear your feedback! -Andrea

Sue’s Testimonial:
Hi Andrea!
What I got out of this was a renewed love of theater and a renewed sense of myself as an actress. This entire process started out in an exercise of facing fears. I gained so much more than a chance to act.
I found new friendships and was able to connect to a diverse group of women. I don’t have many female friends and don’t make friends easily in general. I feel that by the end of this I was a part of an amazing group that will be hard to split up.
Also, watching/listening to everyone’s performance night after night was such a special way to see everyone grow and change and add something better and more amazing to this very moving piece. All of this wouldn’t have been possible if the vibe didn’t start at the top.
You, Lauren, and Dee Dee set the tone from the start, even from the Facebook invite. This was always set to be an ensemble and you succeeded in creating so much more than that. You also created a totally kick ass show! You have such vision and know how to get what you want out of everything. Your notes were always so helpful and spot-on.
Sorry if there was any rambling 🙂
Sue
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From Erica…

As part of the follow-up report for the V-Day campaign, I asked the cast to detail how the project impacted their lives (if they wished to contribute). Once again, these women blew me away. Their testimonials were so heartfelt and beautiful, I asked if I could share them. It’s easy to understand the positive impact that our fundraising had on our beneficiary organization, but it’s hard to grasp how the making of the actual production greatly influenced the lives of those involved.

Over the next few days I’ll be posting some of the cast testimonials, I encourage you to leave a comment. We’d love to hear your feedback! -Andrea
Erica’s Testimonial:
Dear Andrea,

I just wanted to take the time to personally thank you for all your efforts on making our production of “Vagina Monologues” such a success. No one can deny the talent and passion our cast possessed but without you none of this would have ever been possible. You took fifteen unique women and brought us together as a family.

As a theatre educator and a director myself I truly respect the way you ran rehearsals. Even though time was of the essence you never neglected taking time to let us to build a community within our cast and crew and bond. I’ll never forget the “roses and thorns” we’d share before each rehearsal and show or the ensemble building activities we took part in as a cast. Getting to know each and every one of my cast mates and production team “off stage” made all the difference in my experience with this production.

As a full time public school teacher, I never thought I’d be able to be part of a show during the school-year but because you were such a pro at scheduling and utilizing rehearsal time to wisely I was able to be a part of this unforgettable experience. I’d look forward to attending rehearsal each day because I know I was going to be surrounded by a director and a cast that supported me, no matter how difficult and taxing my workday was.

I never saw a director work so hard to make her vision happen, not only her artistic vision on stage but also her vision to give back to the female community. You succeeded in your vision and then some. You set a high bar and supported us in rising to the occasion. Thank you for helping me to grow as a performer and as a contributing member of the female community.

With deep gratitude and respect,
Erica Giglio 
(The Woman Who Loved To Make Vaginas Happy)

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From Quenna…

As part of the follow-up report for the V-Day campaign, I asked the cast to detail how the project impacted their lives (if they wished to contribute). Once again, these women blew me away. Their testimonials were so heartfelt and beautiful, I asked if I could share them. It’s easy to understand the positive impact that our fundraising had on our beneficiary organization, but it’s hard to grasp how the making of the actual production greatly influenced the lives of those involved.  

Over the next few days I’ll be posting some of the cast testimonials, I encourage you to leave a comment. We’d love to hear your feedback!   -Andrea
Quenna’s Testimonial:
Working on this V-Day production of The Vagina Monologues has been a huge inspiration for me in several ways. I have been reminded of the power that women have, and that theatre has, to effect positive change in the lives of others, which is something that this production team and cast has re-inspired me to do. This has confirmed and re-invigorated my passion that I don’t just want to make and be involved in commercial theater, but I want to make and be involved the kind of theater that invokes positivity and social change into our everyday lives, that reaches out and touches the lives in someone in need of a good laugh, hug, or cry and provides it for them.
To that end, Andrea guided us to form a cast and crew that provided just that. And because we were able to build such an encouraging community (of all women!), we were able to extend the love of our community to our audiences. This process has taught me more about the power of community than I have known in a long time, and for that I am extremely grateful to Andrea and the rest of the cast and crew.
-Quenna
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