V-Day is bringing ‘Vaginas’ to a theater near you

Get ready, vaginas. The third annual production of Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues” will be on campus this Valentine’s Day weekend.

But don’t turn away, penises.

“I know it’s called ‘The Vagina Monologues,'” Nina Davidson, sophomore English and women’s and gender studies major, and one of the five student directors said. “I know it’s a little intimidating, but, like, once you get in there, you just lose your anxiety for everything.”

The Vagina Monologues is about every woman, and every human being can relate to the stories.

Eve Ensler traveled the world to interview thousands of women about their vaginas. From her expeditions, she produced “The Vagina Monologues.” Each monologue tells the story of a woman Ensler interviewed.

“Some make you really want to evaluate the privileges women in America have,” Davidson said. “Some make you want to cry because of all the things they’ve gone through, and, you know, we kind of take advantage of in day-to-day life. Some of them actually make you laugh, a lot of them are funny.”

Published in 1998, the book has become an agent of Ensler’s V-Day organization to raise awareness of violence against women. V-Day produces volunteer and college shows of “Monologues” to benefit charities of the group’s choice.

All proceeds from this year’s student-produced show, sponsored by Women in Learning and Leadership (WILL) with contributions by the Women’s Center, will benefit Womanspace, the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq and the Murdered and Missing in Juarez, Mexico.

The V in V-Day stands for victory, valentine and vagina. This year, however, it will also stand for vote. As keeping with the “Vote to End Violence” campaign, a movement to urge political leaders to make violence against women a central issue, there will be stations at each show where attendees can register to vote.

Anyone who has seen a production in the past, and for which registering to vote is not enough of a motivator may think they will be bored by this year’s show. Not to worry. This year brings a new and bigger cast to perform the 16 monologues, some of which have been changed from last year. The Vulva Choir also breaks up the show.

“Every performance is different,” said Mary-Lynne Hopps, director of WILL and the women’s and gender studies program, and second-time cast member. “We have different cast members and everyone has a different interpretation.”

Also, for the first time, at each performance there will be a ceremony to recognize Vagina Warriors, students from the College working against violence towards women. This year’s honorees are Ryan English, Chrissi Minerva and Caitlin Stinneford.

Because “The Vagina Monologues” is a feminist production, giving women the courage to feel liberated about their vaginas, WILL is selling shirts to endorse the show. The tees are black with bright pink printing, reading “Vagina Revolutionary.” They sell for $10.00, and they sell fast.

“The Vagina Monologues” also has a universal appeal. All those involved stress that both men and women will enjoy it, and everyone can learn from it.

“A lot of (men) actually left last year saying they learned things they would never even think about,” Davidson said.

Marileny Valera, junior elementary education/ Spanish major and women’s and gender studies minor, celebrates her third year as a cast member. This year she’ll be performing in the monologue “My Vagina Was My Village.”

“The main reason I got involved was because I feel that each monologue represents a different woman and tells her story,” she said. “I wanted to be that voice, their voice that perhaps no one hears. The monologues are a way to make everyone listen.”

“People should expect to laugh, cry and learn plenty of important facts when they attend the show,” Valera said. “It will open up the eyes of many people and help create awareness of many issues. We will not call them ‘women’s issues’ because they do not only affect women.”

“The two words that come to mind (when thinking about “The Vagina Monologues”) are empowering and enlightening,” Nicole Calvano, senior biology major and WILL member, said.

“You can laugh hysterically, and you can also cry hysterically,” Hopps said.

The “Monologues” will be performed Thursday, Feb. 12 in Kendall Hall at 8 p.m., will move to the Student Center room 202 for another 8 p.m. show on Friday, Feb. 13 and will move back to Kendall on Sunday, Feb. 15 for a 4 p.m. matinee performance. Show time is approximately two hours. Students can purchase tickets for $8 with an ID. All other patrons will be charged $12 for admission.