Listen to your vagina (or other genitalia) and see the Vagina Monologues
At one point during the Georgetown production of the Vagina Monologues, the question is asked “If your vagina could say anything, two words, what would they be?” I don’t have a vagina, but if I did, it would be saying, “Go see the Vagina Monolgues!” Which would be breaking the rules because that’s five words. But my vagina would be a rule-breaker, a firebrand, a rebel.
The Vagina Monologues, put on by The Women’s Center and Take Back The Night, is a compelling series of performed monologues about women and their protean relationships with their vaginas. In the words of the director, Mollie Rodgers (COL ’17), “The Vagina Monologues are part of a national event, which has recently become an international event, where colleges, coffeehouses, and professional theatre groups all perform the same series of monologues which are based off of interviews that Eve Ensler conducted with different women about their experiences with their sexualities and stories and trials that they’ve overcome.”
And while a good number of the monologues are playful and hilarious (one particularly riotous speech concerns woman-to-woman orgasms), many monologues seek to heal where a patriarchal society has hurt; victims of rape in wartime Bosnia, a woman who has not seen her vagina in 72 years and disdainfully refers to it as a cellar, a woman who cannot escape the hateful gaze of her father—they all achieve transcendence through the telling of their story.
Rodgers explains, “each monologue is a transition piece of sorts where the women will start in one state of mind and by the end they’ve either discovered something else or they’ve come to terms with something.” And the audience is transformed as well, clued into issues whose significance they may have underestimated. For instance, we learn that three million women each year have their genitals mutilated.
One monologue begins, “My vagina is angry.” And justifiably so—the Vagina Monologues help highlight the monumental aggressions women face on a day-to-day basis. Haley Maness (NHS ’15), President of Take Back The Night, spoke to this fact in saying, “One of the main goals of Eve Ensler’s work is to end gender-based violence by raising awareness in sort of a fun way.” She was glad to report that so many people who are not in Take Back The Night perform in the Vagina Monologues and fill the rows (2 shows already sold out). “If you want to look to prevent or reduce gender based violence and sexual assault, it’s hard to really get people on board because it’s such a heavy message,” she said. That’s why the Vagina Monologues are so kick-ass, they are something “people can enjoy, people can laugh at, it’s a good way of getting everyone involved.”
This is Rodgers’ directorial debut at Georgetown and what a debut it is. The glide from serious to playful, heartfelt to hilarious, is handled with true tact and skill, the diverse set coming together into a coherent whole. In the context of the recent challenges to H*yas for Choice and other organizations against the continued disadvantaging of marginalized groups, the Vagina Monologues are an enjoyable way to educate yourself and hear stories that would otherwise be left untold. Listen to your vagina—see the Vagina Monologues.
The last two shows are this evening at 8 p.m. and tomorrow at 2 p.m. in the Devine Studio Theatre.
Photo: Georgetown Voice