Vaginas everywhere unite

The Women’s Empowerment Committee stages their annual production of The Vagina Monologues on Feb. 12 & 13.
The Women’s Empowerment Committee stages their annual production of The Vagina Monologues on Feb. 12 & 13.
Photo: 
Each February, The Vagina Monologues seeks to empower women and spread awareness.
Each February, The Vagina Monologues seeks to empower women and spread awareness.
Photo: 

The vaginas are coming. They have a lot to speak about to you—well, to all of us. They’re on their way to Queen’s via The Vagina Monologues with the support of the Women’s Empowerment Committee.

The Vagina Monologues, the infamous, inspiring play and brainchild of activist Eve Ensler, is being performed on campuses everywhere as part of V-Day (Feb. 14), a worldwide effort to raise funds for charities and spread awareness about violence against women. The play aims not only to stimulate discussion about women’s sexuality but also to alert us to the ever-present problems of abuse, violence and violation of human rights women around the world still face. Dealing with topics from menstruation to pubic hair, orgasm to rape, self-hatred to genital mutilation, these vaginas are talking to shock some sense into their audience.

V-Day is an extension of The Vagina Monologues and was created in 1998 to stop violence against women. Each year around Valentine’s Day, as part of the College Campaign, colleges and volunteers put on the play to raise money and ultimately work towards ending violence. When this is accomplished, V-Day will be known as Victory Over Violence Day.

The vaginas will be speaking on Sunday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and again on Monday evening at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at Destinations, at the door, or from cast members. Just a glimpse into the cast’s dress rehearsal last Wednesday revealed a bold, energetic set of women ready to shock and entertain. The monologues, whether whispered or shouted, are as daring as they are sincere. Caroline Smith’s spot-on portrayal of an elderly woman’s distaste for her vagina in The Flood sadly brings to light how disconnected many women are from their own bodies. Meanwhile, during The Vagina Workshop, the ecstatically rising voice of Sarah Bruckschwaiger offers hope as her character expresses the awe and power of finally discovering her clitoris. The honesty of Ensler’s direct, earnest words is a result of the 200 interviews she conducted with women to collect a diverse range of women’s opinions concerning their vaginas. In the Queen’s production, Darcelle Bullon smartly plays Eve Ensler and guides the play along giving by backgrounds to some of the stories and informing the audience with Vagina Facts.

Humorous and lively My Angry Vagina features Rachel Lipton raving with conviction about the insulting and uncomfortable nature of tampons, douches and pap smears. On a sombre note, The Memory of Her Face, a recently added monologue, starkly discusses the brutality of female genital mutilation, torture and rape, which are appallingly common occurrences internationally. The monologues serve as a prompt for all who come in contact with them to think about and contribute to the cause. So, what exactly can we do? Director Leslie Richardson passed on this advice she received from Eve Ensler during a conference for the V-Day College Campaign.

“Whatever you are doing, it is enough,” she said. Performing, watching, spreading the word, or donating to V-Day all help to propagate The Vagina Monologues, its range of controversial topics and important causes. Though this is Queen’s eighth year running the show, Richardson pointed out that there is still work to be done with both issues and general attitudes.

“Most people on campus probably aren’t comfortable with the word ‘vagina,’” she said.

The Queen’s version of the show has come a long way since its first year, when organizers pulled it off despite a small cast and having vandalism to their posters. Now the Queen’s chapter of the V-Day College Campaign is setting their goals high and hoping to raise $20,000, which seems feasible considering the support they’ve received from the community so far. This is a play that stretches to incorporate the political and the personal, while depending on the community and in return giving back to it. Though performed countless times, each production of The Vagina Monologues features a slightly different program of monologues and interpretations. Pleased with the talent and vigour of the actresses, Richardson said she enjoyed watching as this year’s players blended to become their characters and yet were able to bring a sense of themselves to their performances. This idea is emphasized by the choice of costume: black clothing, with each performer choosing her own colourful accessories to accent her character.

The Vagina Monologues and V-Day grow each year, helping along its associated causes and adapting its script to incorporate more stories infusing more and more people with information.

So this V-Day season, attend what promises to be a shameless performance of spunk and thought. And feel free to use the word “vagina” in casual conversation, out of respect.

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.