I still can’t believe I was in the cast of The Vagina Monologues, the award-winning play that is performed in colleges & universities across the United States.  I thank Eve Ensler for interviewing the 200+ women; I thank the women who told their stories to Ms. Ensler; I thank everyone who supports spreading awareness about and putting an end to the atrocities against women and girls in every culture on this planet. I got onto the Internet to find articles about Ms. Ensler and the play, so, I keyed in the words: The Vagina Monologues Eve Ensler in Google search and found:

Eve Ensler spoke eloquently on TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) in 2004.  In 20 precious minutes, Eve talked about how The Vagina Monologues came to be; Marsha Lopez in Afghanistan; Esther Chavez in Juarez, Mexico; Agnes In Kenya, help stop female genital mutilation; her belief in Mr. Alligator who would come to her rescue when she was a girl; 1 in 3 women are beatened or raped; Susan Sarandon, Glenn Close, Whoopi Goldberg; purpose & intent; date-rape, drugs; Vagina Warriors; when we give what we want the most.

Elisa Southard+Vagina Monologues cast member Teresa LeYung Ryan+Mary Knippel photo by Ellen Gailing

author Elisa Southard with Vagina Monologues cast member Teresa LeYung Ryan & creativity coach Mary Knippel photo by Ellen Gailing

I am so honored that I got to speak some lines from the play. For the past 8 years I’ve been working on my second novel, the story of a first-time published author who is afraid to talk about human-trafficking. I got my chance to speak out with Ms. Ensler’s script.

The performance was a benefit for Community Violence Solutions http://www.cvsolutions.org/. Caring attitude from Director Kathy McCarty, her production team, and members in the cast (women of all ages and diverse cultures from the community); audience was gracious; folks from Community Violence Solutions showed dedication.

I learned to listen for the lines assigned to a fellow actress so that I could speak mine in a seamless fashion.  I learned to get into my body while listening to all the lines; creating a circle of energy was most important.

Thank you, community spirits, for stepping out to say: “Stop the violence.  Stop the suffering.”

Thank you, Elisa Southard http://breakthroughthenoise.com/, for talking to Director Kathy http://galateanplayers.com/ when she announced her desire to direct the play again.

Thank you, Mary Knippel http://openuptoyourcreativity.com/, for getting me there on time on performance day, for getting me home after a long day.

Thank  you, Pat Phillips, Lakshmi Kerner, Amira, Leslie, Debbie, all of Lakshmi’s friends, Joey, Joey’s sisters, Michaela, Mike (sorry I didn’t get a chance to say thanks in person).  Thank you to all my friends, my sis & bro-in-law, my hubby for sending good thoughts.

I’ve met remarkable women in this production; hope to connect with them this year. I reconnected with Cynthia Peterson of CVS; what a joy. Where is our colleague and poet Shirley Phelps?

Ellen Gailing http://ellengailingphotography.com/ took vibrant photos; I’ll post more as I receive them.


Teresa LeYung Ryan

I, Teresa LeYung Ryan, use my novel Love Made of Heart to:

  • shed light on the secret agonies suffered by immigrant women, men and children.
  • inspire understanding of mental illness/traumas of the mind.
  • help survivors of violence find their own voices through writing.

Love Made of Heart, the story that sheds light on the stigmas & secret agonies suffered by a mentally-ill immigrant mother.


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2 Responses to “Thank you, Eve Ensler & Kathy McCarty”

  • Maria Leung says:

    Bravo Sis

    I know you’ve been wanting to be a part of a performance like this for a long time—-entertaining, yet poignant in continuing to enlighten people about domestic and other kinds of violence against women. That must have been very exciting to be on that stage, and share the energy of other amazing women, and for such an important cause. I wish I were there!

    I was at a school arts and crafts fair, here in Salem, Massachusetts and there was a table of jewelry, scarves, embroidered tank tops, and purses that attracted my attention. It turns out the items were made by survivors of human trafficking. Below is from the home page of their website:

    Made By Survivors is an international organization dedicated to fighting human trafficking and modern day slavery. We help survivors of slavery rebuild their lives after rescue from slavery, with sustainable income, education and help reintegrating into society. We work to prevent slavery in high risk communities such as red light and refugee communities, by creating jobs for adults and through volunteer trips and donations to our shelter partners for rescue, school fees, emergency needs and reintegration.

    Made By Survivors is a project of The Emancipation Network, a 501(c)3 non-profit. In addition to our product sales we are funded through donations and we appreciate your support. To learn more about us visit http://www.MadeBySurvivors.com

    I also want to recommend two outstanding books entitled:

    Do They Hear When You Cry by Fauziya Kassindja, about female genital mutilation, and Sold by Patricia McCormick, about human trafficking. The first book is long, and the second one very short, but both powerful.

    I suggest all people who care about these matters support Made by Survivors, buy books like these, and further promote awareness about abuse against women.



  • I am so proud of you, Teresa!

    It takes courage to be on stage, and it takes courage to speak out against crimes against women (and humanity). It also takes a deep and profound commitment of time and dedication, which you gave generously and whole-heartedly. I also want to express my gratitude to Eve Ensler, and to Kathy McCarty, the production team and cast members, and “Community Violence Solutions” for providing a venue for the production and a local forum to “Stop the violence. Stop the suffering.”

    While I was unable to be there in person, I was cheering you from the “front row” of my heart!


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