British Columbia

Vagina Monologues controversial in B.C. town

The Vagina Monologues might be too controversial for some residents of one British Columbia town, almost 15 years after its New York premiere.

The Vagina Monologues might be too controversial for some residents of one British Columbia town, almost 15 years after its New York premiere.

The award-winning play premieres on Friday evening in Summerland, B.C., as a fundraising event for the Penticton and Area Women's Centre.

The play, composed of several frank and sometimes humorous monologues about women's issues and sexuality, is performed in thousands of venues every year, frequently as a fundraiser for battered women's shelters and sexual assault phone lines.

Volunteers in the Okanagan community in the southern Interior of B.C. have been working on their production for months, looking forward to their big debut.

But then producer Monica Sahlmark got some disturbing news — flyers posted around Summerland advertising the event had been torn down.

"We were checking in on the ticket sales and such and one of the ladies who helped put up the posters said, 'Every single one is gone.' We've put up about 10 of them around town," Sahlmark told CBC News.

The show will go on

Chandra Wong, the centre's event co-ordinator, says there has been a mixed reaction to the centre putting on the play and speculated that somebody offended by the word "vagina" decided to take the posters down. 

"You know, it's really interesting. There are some people who are really supportive and they understand what Vagina Monologues is all about. There are other people who are actually very uncomfortable with the word 'vagina' and when you use the word they tend to not want to have anything to do with it," said Wong.

But pushing boundaries is what The Vagina Monologues is all about and, posters or not, the show will go on, said Wong.

Still, she and others involved in the production say they are disappointed by the lack of respect shown by whoever tore down the posters.

"We're respectful of other people," Wong said. "I mean, not everyone's going to agree with what we do or how we do it. But we're respectful of their point of view."

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