The Vagina Monologues
Friday and Saturday, 7 p.m.
Davis Veterans Memorial Center at 203 E. 14th St.
Tickets to the event are sold out
This Friday and Saturday, the Women’s Resources and Research Center will host The Vagina Monologues. The performance for both days will be at 7 p.m. at the Davis Veterans Memorial Center, located on 203 E. 14th St. in Davis.
The event was partially created as a fundraiser for the WRRC’s gender and education resources. Funds will also go to the V-Day, a nonprofit organization created by The Vagina Monologues author Eve Ensler aimed at promoting women’s rights and battling sexual violence and abuse.
Ensler wrote the play in 1996 as a set of individual monologues. Performances soon drew widespread attention, and contributing actresses have included notable names such as Cate Blanchett, Jane Fonda and Winona Ryder.
“The premise of the play is to bring attention to issues that women do not speak about as much as they should,” said Lisa Thew, director of the Davis production of The Vagina Monologues. “The idea behind the entire conception of V-Day is to call attention [to] violence against women, help to create and benefit programs and address those issues.“
V-Day – which stands for victory, Valentine and vagina – raises money through campaigns and events such as The Vagina Monologues. A new monologue is written each year with a new theme, and this year’s addition focuses on sexual repression and violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Lisa Winters, a senior sociology and Chicano/Chicana studies double major who will perform in this weekend’s show, said the performance is about “different women telling their stories and experiences with discovering their vagina [as well as] pain and suffering regarding the vagina.”
“[It’s a] personal exploration through discovering one’s self,” Winters said. “It becomes a tapestry of vagina experiences.“
Despite the play’s recurring themes of struggles with sexual violence, The Vagina Monologues is known for its vocal and somewhat risqué style. Monologue titles include “The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy” and “The Little Coochie Snorcher That Could.“
“I think that it’s okay for women to talk about the vagina, and it’s okay for society to learn about these things,” said Nicki Sun, a junior communication major who will be performing in the play. “We don’t [normally] talk about rape, we don’t talk about genital mutilation – it’s kind of an outlet and a space for us to be safe to talk about it, and for audience members to relate to.“
“I think a lot of the times we underestimate what the audience can handle,” Winters said. “It really goes through the spectrum of human emotion. I think everybody can find something they can relate to.“
Open auditions for the show were held in December. Each performer tried out for a specific monologue, selected before the audition. Practices included group rehearsals but focused on individual sessions, since the play focuses on solo and small-group performances.
While The Vagina Monologues differs from the traditional play, many of the monologues are written from an anecdotal point of view. Hannah Reff, a senior sociology and American studies double major, said her choice of the monologue “Reclaiming Cunt” seemed appropriate, as it addresses taking back a word that negatively describes her body.
“I think the whole monologue is really powerful and speaks to different emotional levels in different women,” Reff said. “I think that my piece is about taking control of a woman’s life and not letting men describe the terms that we use to describe ourselves.“
“I think the play speaks to all of the different levels of life that occur with women, be it the great joy that they are capable of or the great tragedies that can occur to them,” Thew said. “I think in order to encompass the fullness of the female experience, there has to be laughs and there has to be tears, because that is the reality of our lives.“
Thew said she encourages anyone and everyone to attend the show.
“If you’ve never seen The Vagina Monologues, it’s a really incredible experience and journey,” she said. “I think anyone and everyone can benefit – you’re going to find something in at least one of these stories that is going to speak to you or touch you. It’s a journey worth taking.“
Tickets have sold out, but the Women’s Resources and Research Center can be reached at 752-3372. More information is available through firstname.lastname@example.org.
JUSTIN T. HO can be reached at email@example.com.