Even though the Vagina Monologues is entering its second and last weekend of performances at the Capitol Theatre, patrons aren’t able to tell it from looking at the posters of current productions.
The poster for the play was removed from the theatre entrance last week and Edge Production’s Artistic Director Miriam Goldstein explained that after she was alerted by cast members that the poster was removed she “got home and emailed Jeth Mill” who is the executive director of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra, which operates the Capitol Theatre.
Ally Dietrich is an Executive Board Member of Edge Productions and during rehearsals last week, she and the Executive Director searched for the missing poster in the Capitol Theatre.
“The offices were open so we tried to figure out where it had gone,” stated Dietrich, “It was behind an unused typewriter in an unused section of the office that had old desks and old equipment and no lighting. It wasn’t destroyed, it was just nicely placed there…kept out of view.”
The next day Goldstein was contacted by Jeth Mill who informed her that “somebody [from] the city took it down…they felt it was offensive.”
Goldstein calls the removal of her poster an act of censorship and was questioned about the whereabouts of the poster by patrons on show nights.
“I’ve received phone calls from people who said ‘I was going to come to your show, but I thought maybe you were done and I had missed it’.” she said.
Goldstein believes that it is the word ‘vagina’ that the City has taken offense to “and they say that’s not true and that it’s the image behind it, but you can’t see anything. It’s not pornographic…you can see her side, a little bit of her back and a thigh…well [people] see that every day…it’s the word, it makes people uncomfortable.”
“You can see less in this,” commented Goldstein, referencing television body-wash commercials, adding, “in those commercials you see the bellybutton, the slope of the belly, the crease in the hip.”
Windsor lawyer Victoria Cross explained that this an example of why the community needs a public primer on what Charter of Rights mean.
“There are people being banned from City buildings, the staff approves religious flag flying from City Hall despite a policy to the contrary, and now we have a playbill announcing a theatrical production ripped from the Theatre in which it is to be performed,” commented Cross, “If we can’t have a poster that uses a proper term, then how can we expect intelligent discourse on health, sex, and sexuality issues?”
Goldstein hopes for the municipality to examine their policies surrounding the issue because “it’s an important issue to talk about. Do I want compensation? No.”
“If you’re going to own a building and you’re a government entity, you can’t censor,” said Goldstein, adding, “[The city] just bought the Art Gallery…the nudes, what’s going to happen with those? Where is the line? My biggest question is: If you can censor a poster, what else can you censor?”
Goldstein hopes to stay in Windsor to continue making art and concedes that while Windsor has its problems, she thinks the city is great. “If we could just start supporting each other more I think we can have an incredible hub for the arts. If people stayed or came back to Windsor, it’d be amazing…but we’ve made it so difficult.”
Edge Production’s The Vagina Monologues finishes its run this weekend on Friday and Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 4pm. Tickets will be available at the door.
Jonathon Liedtke is the Features & Opinion Editor for the University of Windsor Lance Campus/Community Newspaper and a reporter for ourWindsor.ca. As a founding member and current Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee, he is committed to representing, connecting, engaging with and advocating for local youth. He is also a member of Windsor’s “Punk with Horns” band The Nefidovs, and as such, is committed to enhancing and sustaining the arts community.