Steamboat Springs Kim Keith still feels the heat rising in her face when she says the word.
She was born and raised in the South, where “vagina” just isn’t said. Nor is it a subject matter to talk about openly.
But in her second year as co-director of the V-Day Steamboat Springs production of “The Vagina Monologues,” Keith said she’s overcome more than just the linguistic challenge of opening up about women’s sexuality.
“The most empowering thing is talking candidly about a taboo subject,” she said. “When you’re surrounded by other people … there’s something that happens to me, just being more comfortable with myself.”
V-Day is a worldwide nonprofit awareness movement that aims to end violence toward women. Each year, thousands of communities put on benefit productions of “The Vagina Monologues” to encourage a cultural shift in the worldwide treatment of women and girls.
The second annual V-Day Steamboat Springs will feature about 20 women reading excerpts from the “The Vagina Monologues,” “The Flood,” “My Angry Vagina,” “Hair” and “The Little Coochie Snortcher That Could.”
Performances are at 8:15 p.m. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday at the Off the Beaten Path Bookstore, where Keith also works as the events coordinator. Tickets cost $15 and are available at the bookstore.
For the Steamboat show, 90 percent of ticket sale proceeds will benefit Advocates Building Peaceful Communities, a local nonprofit that provides services to victims of domestic and sexual violence.
The other 10 percent will go to V-Day’s Spotlight Campaign, which this year supports building safe houses for women and girls in Haiti.
“It’s an international women’s experience, and I feel so in tune with all of that,” co-director Kyle Paolantonio said about the event. “I get shivers down my spine when I think about the fact there are millions of other women doing the same thing we are and supporting their communities.”
The monologues cover a range of emotions from humor to anger and fear, encouraging women to take control of their lives by liberating the way they think and feel about their bodies and sexuality. But all the women involved say the performance is made for men, too.
“It was a completely empowering experience,” Paolantonio said about last year’s event. “We made incredible relationships … and all for a good cause.”
To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@ExploreSteamboat.com