Marvelous 'Monologues'

I had no idea what to expect when I first attended a performance of The Vagina Monologues, a collection of monologues dedicated completely to — you guessed it — vaginas. What I found, however, was a delightful show that kept me entertained from beginning to end.

The University’s Spectrum Theatre has performed The Vagina Monologues on Grounds every spring since 2008. This year’s performances, which took place from Feb. 15-17, were held in conjunction with the One Billion Rising movement, an international campaign demanding an end to gender violence. To support this goal, 90 percent of proceeds from the performances were donated to the University Women’s Center, while 10 percent were given to the national V-Day fund, an organization that raises money for anti-violence organizations.

The show itself is a series of monologues about the challenges and joys of being a woman. These monologues are based on interviews that the show’s author, Eve Ensler, conducted with more than 200 women from around the world. Respondents included a 72-year-old woman, a Bosnian rape victim, a lesbian and a six-year-old girl. These unique perspectives come together to create an engrossing show with one unexpected moment after another.

The unique and thoroughly enjoyable element of The Vagina Monologues is found in that unpredictability. The themes of the various monologues rapidly shift between poignant, tragic, thought-provoking and hilarious.

“My Angry Vagina” is a woman’s humorous rant about the many grave “injustices” her vagina is forced to endure in its lifetime, such as tampons and the occasional uncomfortable OB-GYN exam. “The Little Coochie Snorcher that Could” describes a woman’s joy at having her first sexual encounter with another woman after negative sexual experiences early on in her life. “I Was There in the Room” is a touching piece in which a woman describes witnessing the birth of her granddaughter.

Several of the monologues, however, address much more somber issues. “My Vagina Was My Village” is a tragic account of the experiences of Bosnian rape victims, while “Not-so-Happy Fact” informs the audience of the millions of girls and women throughout the world who are subject to genital mutilation.

Although dealing with difficult and oftentimes sensitive subject matter, the performers did a stellar job in presenting their monologues. Each of the members of the entirely female cast created a convincing character that successfully connected with the audience.

The Vagina Monologues, while different from any show I had seen before, was an unexpected treat. The monologues were a perfect balance between humorous vignettes and more tragic tales, and the performers were absolutely fantastic. I would thoroughly recommend it.

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