Getting personal

Annual Queen’s production inspired by The Vagina Monologues returns

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Traditionally, Down There is a series that’s unafraid to tackle controversial issues.

This year’s installment is no different as it explores themes of sexuality, objectification and acceptance in the day-to-day lives of seemingly-ordinary women.

Down There is divided into two acts made up of 22 monologues that range from being ironically funny to awe-inspiring and emotional. These monologues are stories about the seemingly-ordinary and daily lives of women who have gone through traumatic experiences, or who just want to share their thoughts and beliefs about issues that society has told them is not acceptable for women to discuss.

Produced annually by Queen’s students and the Women’s Empowerment Committee, these stories change from year to year to cover different topics. But each year the goal remains the same: to empower people and inspire them to look at society and be unafraid to criticize, to ask questions and to not let society dictate who they should be.

Act One opens simply with “Shake the Dust” as the characters stand together in solidarity on stage. It’s a story about hope and rebirth and shaking off the shackles that society binds women with. The wordplay of Anis Mojgani brings these themes to life through awe-inspiring images of empowered women rising up and taking control of their lives.

The following monologues, such as “Stuck With You” and “Dear Dove”, build on these themes as they discuss what it means to be a woman in this day and age where there are so many expectations surrounding both genders.

In “Stuck With You”, Jillian Carter takes the audience on her personal journey that many young girls have experienced growing up. She successfully demonstrates the pressure that people have felt to fit in and find that path to perfection that leads to popularity and the perfect body.

The second and final act takes on more sensitive topics such as rape, sex and asexuality with monologues like “How Do You Fuck a Fat Woman” and “When I Am Quiet”. Despite the sensitivity of these issues, they are handled admirably and given the respect they deserve.

The ironic tone of “How Do You Fuck a Fat Women” serves to emphasize the themes of body image and how society is responsible for building a culture based on objectification. Jennie Fallis delivered a riveting performance that thoroughly establishes the problems that societal gender norms have created.

“When I Am Quiet” is one of the most emotionally-affecting performances by virtue of the topics being discussed — rape and sexual violence in relationships. It’s a story about an angry young woman haunted by memories that keep her from moving forward with her life.

Down There continues with its mission to empower and to celebrate diversity and differences in age, sexuality, ethnicity and race.

Down There is playing at Convocation Hall in Theological Hall on Feb. 7 and 8 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 8 and 9 at 2:30 p.m.

The following corrections have been made in this article:

There are 22 monologues in Down There. "When I Am Quiet" deals with topics of date rape and sexual violence.

The Journal regrets the errors.

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