5enses talks with director Heidi Hampton about the play that’s empowering the women of Yavapai County, again.
Mona Stephens sat down with Heidi Hampton, the woman behind The Vagina Monologues in Prescott, told us about this year’s show, what the production is all about, what you have been missing, and how you can experience it for yourself, in a just few weeks.
By Mona Stephens
The Vagina Monologues is coming to Prescott next month. What is it and who started it?
The Vagina Monologues is kind of a movement, started by Eve Ensler in 1996. It’s a collection of monologues: one-person pieces and ensembles pieces that mostly deal with women’s issues. It started as a one-woman-show, Off-Broadway, that aired on HBO. It was just Eve and a mic, standing as she went through all the monologues.
The issues the monologues cover run the gamut. One is the story of a Bosnian rape camp survivor. But some of them are fun and original, there are a lot of those. It’s all about women: the good, the bad and the ugly.
When did you first hear about the Vagina Monologues and get involved?
I auditioned for another play in 2008 and it was my, you know, “big return to the stage.” I thought I could do it and, well, I didn’t get the part. But I did backstage stuff and was the prop-master. One day, I got a letter from the director’s wife that said “I saw you audition and I think you’ve got a voice and you have something to say. Would you like to audition for The Vagina Monologues?” I thought, “Wow, what is that?” I did my research and that’s when I got started in 2008 in Carson City Nevada.
You have performed in The Vagina Monologues for the last 11 years, why is it so special to you?
Okay, if I cry don’t hold it against me. This show saved my life. It was at a time when my only supports were my coworkers and husband. We aren’t married anymore. But every year when this show came around, I knew it was my escape. And every year, everyone saw bruises or my jaw wired shut or a broken arm. That was a horrible time for me, and the Monologues helped me out of. It helped me get to Advocates to End Domestic Violence, got me Into my own place, and then somehow brought me here.
I just I want to help people and that’s why this is a passion piece for me. It always has been because what I want to do with this show, obviously, is get the word out. I want to educate people but also to get people into counseling and get people into shelters; women shelters, homeless shelters, whatever, so they can get out of that bad situation. If I can help one person we’re going in the right direction.
Why did you bring The Vagina Monologues to Prescott?
I was here one year before I searched “Vagina Monologue auditions in Prescott” and there was nothing in Prescott. In fact, there was nothing in Arizona. It did show me that Prescott College had done it in the past but three or four years before, but nothing recent.
So when I met John Duncan, who is my producer and my rock, I thought, “Wow, I think he might be into this.” So I asked him and he said “Oh my God, I’m in.” From there, he literally had to pull me back because I was like “let’s get it started” and we didn’t even have the rights! So we brought it here; not for the first time by any means, but for the first time in a few years. That was in 2018.
What can people who have never seen the Vagina Monologues expect?
They should expect some language and definitely some serious situations. They could experience crying and laughing. They might get mad like “how could someone do that to someone?” I think the show is going to put people on that good and bad emotional rollercoaster.
What would you say to a man attending the Vagina Monologues this year?
Men can also enjoy this! They can learn from this, you know? It’s fun for men as long as they know we poke fun little bit. As long as they can handle that, I think they’ll be fine. If they don’t take it too seriously or think that the show is about them, then they can have fun. Men are just fine and we love them. Absolutely!
How will the show benefit the community this year?
We do not keep a dime. All the money goes to our charity of choice. Last year it went to PASS. We were able to give them $8000. Just to give you a scope: that would cover a little over 7 months of their mortgage. It feels amazing to be able to do something like that. This year everything will benefit Women’s Empowerment Breakthrough, a project of The Launch Pad to help teenagers and young women to gain self-confidence, develop their sense of self, and build community. We’re hoping for more than $8000; we want to just keep going up.
What does doing a play like this in Prescott bring to the town?
I think it brings an openness to talk to people. To talk to a therapist, to talk to a crisis counselor, to talk to your mom, your dad, your boyfriend, your husband or whoever. It brings education to people and it doesn’t matter what age you are. There is always a new story to tell that people maybe didn’t realize and makes them go, “Oh wow, I didn’t know that happened.” That’s what The Vagina Monologues brings to a town like Prescott.
So by attending this show, people can learn, feel empowered, and support a local charity?
Absolutely. We are here for support. We have counselors present for those who need them. We had a younger person who sought help from one of our crisis counselors and we were able to get her into counseling. All I want to do is pay it forward because it was paid for me.
Where and when is the Vagina Monologues this year?
March 1-2, from 7pm-9pm and March 3 5pm.
At Granite Peak UU located 822 Sunset Ave, Prescott, AZ 86305.
If you want to buy tickets visit 4amproductions.net or call (928) 421-1123