Female sexuality has been troubling (male) imagination from the dawn of humanity. Each greater socio-political change had the mission to redefine the position of women in society: from the worship of fertility goddesses, exile from paradise, witch trials, clitoridectomies and other forms of treatment of female sexual lust, all the way to the objectification of the female body in capitalist present times. Still, we wonder if, in spite of millenniums of obsessive dealing with female sexual organ, we really know it at all? Viva la Vulva deals with serious and important issues playfully and through comedy. In the performance, we ceremoniously announce the list of suppressors of female sexuality, unravel several centuries of mysterious clitoris disappearance and repeat the word vagina, until it stops feeling as a taboo but as uttering of freedom.
Graphic novel The Forbidden Fruit by Swedish cartoonist Liv Strömquist was published in Slovenian translation by Mila Gustinčič Pahor at Vige Vage knjige publishing house. It is a socially critical, political, feminist and humorous visual research of perception of sex organs and female sexuality through time. Author (with continuously citing) surveys the key historical, sociological and medical theories that still have influence over the position of women and girls both at individual as well as collective level. Creators of performance Viva la Vulva! found great inspiration in this graphic novel. Seemingly light and sarcastic way of cartoon narrative offered an interesting starting point to think about appropriate genre framing and theatre language that is able to produce both parody and activism. The denied matriarchal societies, gender as a social construct, pathologized and suppresed (female) lust, women (un)exuality, influence of social narrative about sexuality on female identity – are just some of the issues that the performance sheds some light on. Viva la Vulva! thus speaks about the denied, celebrates the despised and opens up public space for consideration about the most intimate.
Primož Ekart is an actor, theatre and film director. He graduated in theatre acting in 1990 from the Academy for Theatre, Radio, Film and Television in Ljubljana in the class of Boris Cavazza. Besides acting studies, he also trained at the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute in New York and attended several workshops, led by renowned local and international creators. In 2013 he directed his first short film called Arrivals Departures. In 2015 he finished his MA in film directing at the aforementioned Academy.
Ekart established his own production house, Imaginarni Institute in 2006, which he leads in artistic and production sense and where he directed some noticed and awarded performances (The Story of a Delicious Corpse or Feast or How Roman Abramovič… in 2012, Europe in 2015 and Powerlessness in 2017). Primož Ekart so far directed at City Theatre Ljubljana, Slovene National Theatre Drama Ljubljana, Slovene National Theatre Nova Gorica, Ljubljana Puppet Theatre, Mini Theatre, Prešernovo Theatre Kranj and Cankarjev dom.
Directed by: Primož Ekart
Performers: Barbara Krajnc Avdić, Maja Kunšič, Zala Ana Štiglic, Iva Lazar
Song Lyrics: Ana Duša
Music by: Davor Herceg
Corepetitors: Ana Duša, Davor Herceg
Dramaturgy: Simona Hamer
Language supervisor: Maja Cerar
Costume design: Gordana Bobojević (Bobo dresses)
Set design: Primož Ekart
Lighting Designer: Janko Oven
Technical support: Matej Primec
Producer: Imaginarni Institute
Co-producer: Mini teater
Organized by: Emanat, Imaginarni and Mini Theatre
When performing the absurd contexts of representation of female sexual organ as a lack (of penis), a short history of discourse on vulva and the top list of chauvinist (self-proclaimed) doctors, they switch between serious reporter diction and exaggerated chatty mode we know well from commercial radio stations. These radio host escapades reach their peak in short puppet acts (with desktop lamps or shoes that are worn by performers on their hands) and humorous, inventive and excellently performed songs.
– Dnevnik Newspaper
Since the show Viva la Vulva aims at satirical performing of the best of selection of the history of suppression, silencing, denial of female sexuality it is actually courageously departing into the mine field of the question of humour in feminism.