Contrary to the bold title, “The Vagina Monologues,” was surprisingly barebones.
The cast, made up of AU students, sat around four raised microphones, wearing simple black costumes with red accents. The simplicity of the costuming and set design helped to focus the audience on the brilliant writing of “The Vagina Monologues,” a play written in 1998 by activist Eve Ensler.
AU’s “The Vagina Monologues,” directed by School of Communication junior Carmen Mason and School of International Service senior Nicole Wisler, was a part of V-Day International, a global campaign which aims to end violence against women and girls.
The show opened with primarily comical monologues, though these monologues still touched on serious issues. One of these monologues was “The Flood” performed by SOC sophomore Madeline Turrini. In this monologue, Turrini played a 70-something-year-old woman discussing her vagina. Though Turrini’s monologue is initially comical (her New York accent is fabulous and fitting), it touches upon some serious issues, such as uterine cancer.
Following the 70-year-old’s monologue is the monologue of a 6-year-old girl. This story is taken from a young girl who, though young, makes some important feminist observations, such as, “Somewhere deep inside, [my vagina] has a smart brain.” This line demonstrates a central message of “The Vagina Monologues”: that women and their vaginas should be respected.
The show takes a shift to more serious monologues about halfway through. One of the more powerful performances was by College of Arts and Sciences senior Katie Alexander, SOC junior Joni Agronin, SIS senior Olivia Curl, School of Public Affairs senior Becca Davis and SIS sophomore Taylor Moore. This monologue, “They Beat the Girl Out of My Boy… Or So They Tried,” dealt with the discrimination and abuse that transgendered people face.
The costumes and a number of lines said in unison in the monologue made the strong writing even more powerful. The actresses all began the scene wearing red ties, and as they began discussing “practicing femininity” they began slowly removing the ties.
The following performance, “My Vagina Was My Village,” was equally powerful. Starring SIS freshman Maris Feeley and SIS senior Tea Sefer, this monologue was about women in war-torn Bosnia.
Part of the strength of this performance was the staging. The monologue juxtaposed happy vagina imagery with horrifying imagery to illustrate Bosnia before and after the war. This monologue brought up the issue of rape as a tool of war.
The show ended by restating statistics about violence against women: one in three women will be abused in some manner. After stating this, the audience was asked to rise to action.
Every year, the cast chooses organizations to which they donate the proceeds of the show. This year, the cast raised over $9,000 and donated the money to the Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive (H.I.P.S.), AYUDA and the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN).