SHIRLEY — Many people know Shirley resident Christine House as an enthusiastic parent volunteer. She’s been a driving force behind the Community Connection, an effort to raise parent volunteerism.
Her 15 minutes of fame, however, came when she was recognized as one of thousands of voices in the fight to bring violence against women “front and center.”
On Monday, June 19, a monologue House wrote entitled “Blueberry Hill” was performed before a full house at the Hammerstein Ballroom on West 34th Street in Manhattan.
“A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant and a Prayer: Writers On Violence Against Women and Girls,” a compilation of the stories of men and women about the violent treatment of women and girls around the world, including Blueberry Hill, was arranged as part of a two-week festival spearheaded by Eve Ensler.
Ensler, best known for “The Vagina Monologues” selected House’s piece from over 60 original works she had received in response to the cause.
That evening, “Rent” actress Rosario Dawson performed the nearly 20-minute piece flawlessly. As she read the moving account of an attempted date rape, the scenes depicted in “Blueberry Hill” triggered quiet reactions from audience members at the story’s turning points.
House’s name appeared on the V-Day Festival program among the names of award-winning writers from all over the world.
The list of 26 writers who contributed to the production included playwright Edward Albee, who wrote the Tony Award-winning play “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” as well as New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristoff and “The Color Purple” author Alice Walker.
“In the times of evildoers and saints we need writers,” said Ensler during the opening of the event. “Language has the capacity to transform ourselves.”
House was inspired to write the piece, she said, after taking part in a production of Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues” in Littleton, where she performed at the First Church Unitarian under the direction of Lezli Whitehouse.
Whitehouse, a speech pathologist at the Shirley School at Devens, had asked House to participate in the production.
“It was so out there for me,” House said.
Following the “Monologues” performance, some of the cast members, including herself, each wrote an original piece, said House.
House said she has always been writing, but “Blueberry Hill” was the first piece of her work she had ever shown anyone.
Later, House and a friend attended an event at which Ensler was present. The friend told Ensler she should read House’s piece. Ensler encouraged House to send the piece to production manager Tony Melchoir.
None of this would have happened, House said prior to the New York City production last week, if it weren’t for her having met Whitehouse at a Melissa Etheridge concert nearly two years ago.
As Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin said during the opening, “We women will find our common bounds and our common bonds.”
House attended the first night of the sold out performances with her husband, Tom, accompanied by several of her close friends including Whitehouse.
“It was amazing,” House said after the show. “I felt honored and privileged to be part of the festival.”
Although House said she hasn’t decided if she wants to pursue writing as a career, she did say she will continue to write.
She later spoke about the importance of bringing the issue of violence against women to the forefront.
“I think we’ve come to a point, especially as women, that we expect some violence will happen in our lives,” said House. “I think the first step in solving any issue is to be talking about it.”