The 2-day annual feminist theatre extravaganza that is “the Vagina Monologues” will kick off this Friday, February 7. For those unfamiliar with the event, it’s a play about women’s sexuality, love, abuse, rape and recovery based on interviews with real women, Keighlyn Alber, co-director of the Vagina Monologues and vice-president of Triota, said.
Giving to the community
The Vagina Monologues and its parent organization, V-Day, seek to raise awareness of violence against women and raise money through online donation for survivors of domestic abuse worldwide. This year, 90% of the money raised through the play will go to Centre County Women’s Resource Center while the remaining 10% will be donated to One Billion Rising, one of V-Day’s campaigns.
More than just a play
Although the “monologues” are delivered by actors on stage, this is unlike other theatrical productions, Rebecca Kelley, who has been acted in the play since 2009, said. “It’s a bunch of women coming together. Not for themselves. Not to watch themselves shine on stage. It’s about the message that’s behind each of these pieces.”
“It is an event to help heal, to empower women, to create a community and a safe space where violence doesn’t exist,” Albar said.
“We have all these women together. There’s no drama. We are just happy and we get along. And I think it’s because we are all here for a greater good,” Kelley said.
Breaking the taboo
“So many people are afraid of the word vagina. [That’s why] it’s almost refreshing to come here to experience something like this and talk about something we usually don’t talk about,” Cassi LaBar, co-director of the Vagina Monologues, said.
Kathryn Lodwick, a first-time cast member and theatre major, said the toughest part of acting in the play was “saying sexual things on stage in front of people.” She said, “You don’t say these things in public. Being on stage with a microphone […] describing a vagina can be embarrassing.”
It’s for everyone
“The Vagina Monologue is important, whether or not you have a vagina. It’s not just about having one, but loving and respecting vaginas as well,” Alber said. She describes the production as an “emotional roller coaster.” She said the play can be funny, sad, enraging, joyous and empowering for everyone regardless of gender.
Lodwick agreed with Alber, saying: “Come to the show with an open mind. You’ll learn about yourself and other people, whether you are male or female.”
NOTE: donations to Centre County Women’s Resource Center is accepted at https://ccwrc.org/get-involved/make-a-donation/
Photos by Jessi Korch