The Vagina Monologues: a tradition in trying times

Alexandra ScicchitanoOnline Editor

The Vagina Monologues takes place on Feb. 27 and 28 at 7 p.m. in Engleman A120, and its goal is to expose students and to help them understand the experiences that women and women identifying people go through, said Jessica Troy, the director of The Vagina Monologues.

“I think it would be good for people, for folks, to get women’s perspectives on violence against women or what women go through around their sexuality and trauma,” said Troy, a dual master’s student in women’s studies and social work.

The Vagina Monologues have been going on for 20 years, since they were created by Eve Ensler, and has been reenacted on campus for at least 10 years, said Vanessa Parker, a graduate assistant in the women’s studies department, who is also producing the production this year.

Troy said that for the production to be allowed at Southern, they had to get the rights for it, and then they also must follow instructions or criteria, such as the play can only be 90 minutes long, and it has to be played near Valentine’s Day, according to Troy.

“I did not write the play, I am producing it on campus and we have a director, [too]” said Parker.

She said she has seen the play twice, but that this is her first time producing it and performing in it.

According to Troy, the play has the same monologues every year. However, there can be a featured monologue or a featured topic that may be the focus of that year’s production.

“Auditions happened last week, we had three different audition slots and now we are just in the process of setting up rehearsals,” said Parker.

There will be seven performers who will be going through 17 different monologues, said Parker.

“So, everyone kind of picks one, we had tryouts this year, and then [what] everyone wanted, they could take,” said Troy.

Some monologues include only one person reading to the audience, while others may include more people, with one even including five performers in a single monologue, said Troy.

“I know the first time I saw it, it evoked a lot of emotions,” said Parker. “I was sad because some of the stories were about trauma. I was happy because there were some funny moments in the production. Then you kind of feel this sense of empowerment, I mean, there’s so many emotions, which I think is something good to experience when you see a production, a play.”

VPAS, or Violence Prevention, Victim Advocacy and Support Center, will be at the playing of the production, and there will be a counselor at the show “in case anyone gets triggered,” said Troy. They will also be giving out a number to a local hotline for domestic violence and sexual assault agency in case a person does not feel comfortable talking about it there in person, Troy said.

“I think it depends about where you are at emotionally when you come to see the play, and if you connect with it or not,” said Parker.

According to Parker, the play is a good way for students to gain a sense of consciousness about how taboo the word vagina is.

“I really think that anyone in social services, journalism, anybody that interacts with people should definitely attend to gain an awareness and understanding of peoples experiences,” said Troy.

She also said it is good to bring awareness to what women have to deal with everyday and how sexuality can be taken away by different people and in different ways, said Troy.

“I’m just hoping that the people, the students, that attend it, something, one of [monologues] touches them and makes them really think about hearing the narrative for what it really is,” said Parker. “It’s not often talked about.”

Graphic Courtesy: Colleen Hearn

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