On Thursday, April 4, The Space was shook once more by the Vagina Monologues. There was trembling, there was cursing, there was laughter and plenty of pussy power.
This production is put on by Women’s Concerns: A Feminist House (WoCo) every other year, and it is always a night to remember. This year’s show was directed by Jordyn Smith (’21) and Jay Shovan (‘22) and starred a cast of 10 incredible performers.
The Vagina Monologues is a play written by Eve Ensler which debuted in 1996. It is a collection of monologues based on Ensler’s interviews with over 200 women during which she asked them about sex, relationships and their bodies. “What would your vagina wear?” and “What would your vagina say?” were questions asked to all of the women, and the answers collected served as transitions from monologue to monologue, delivered wittily by Alyssa Sileo (’22), Sam Hecker (’20) and Shovan in front of a bedazzled vagina backdrop.
Shovan and Smith opened the show reminding the audience that “Not all women have vaginas and not all people with vaginas are women,” thus acknowledging that the original play was written in a much different context than that of today.
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“I felt like it was going to be a challenge for me, being the first show I’ve directed,” said co-director Smith. “But as soon as people auditioned and we assigned everyone their monologues, everything felt so right. The actors could not have been better and I take the show as a pretty great success.”
The monologues were kicked off by Dorian Crimmins (’19) who delivered a beautiful rendition of “The Flood.” This monologue follows a 72-year-old woman revisiting a story of her “down there.” Marley Mathias (’21) had the audience laughing out loud with the monologue “Because He Liked to Looked at it,” which discusses a rare good experience with a man.
With an English accent, Emma Rucci (’20) performed “The Vagina Workshop” in front of a drawing of a void/vagina. Both Tessa Godbout (’20) and Grace Viveiros (’21) had the audience energized after their stagings of “Reclaiming Cunt” and “My Angry Vagina,” respectively.
However, not all of the monologues were funny. The show touched on sexual violence and female genital mutilation. Anna Gombert (’20), co-editor-in-chief of The Acorn, cried on stage while performing “My Vagina was My Village.” This piece is done in remembrance of the thousands of Bosnian and Kosovan women that were systematically raped as a weapon of war. The powerful rendition of the monologue had people tearing up.
Katie Sparks (’21) took down the house with her incredible talent. Her monologue, “The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy,” was complete with a full-on two minutes of moaning and had the audience roaring with laughter.
Finally, the last monologue was Laura Bertrand’s (’22) beautiful rendition of “I Was There in the Room.” This monologue is about Ensler’s experience witnessing the birth of her great-granddaughter, an experience that left her “in deep worship” of vaginas; it was the perfect ending to the empowering show.
“The Vagina Monologues is a WoCo tradition that we have been doing for the entire time we have been a theme house, around 30 years,” said Marina Mozak (’19), the House Assistant for the Feminist House. “It is an important event for campus. Vaginas are neat-o.”
Smith also said, “I would love to see a Vagina Monologues 2.0 written in the present day. There are vagina stories that Eve Ensler didn’t portray, like for trans women or non-binary identifying people. I think the opportunity for many new stories about vaginas have developed since Ensler first wrote it.”
When asked if they had anything to add about the show, Crimmins said “Pussies unite!”