Coming to UM’s Storer Auditorium, direct from Broadway, is Eve Ensler’s world-renowned play, ‘The Vagina Monologues,’ and its anti-violence campaign, V-Day.
‘The Vagina Monologues’ is a play based on conversations that Ensler had with different women all over the world.
“Eve Ensler went around the world talking to women,” said Becky Stead, one of the organizers. “She was moved by their experiences, so she put them in a monologue form to share their stories.”
“She [Ensler] listened to their stories and found common threads,” said Farryl Rosenberg, a junior and one of the performers. “The monologues deal with all aspects of being a woman-from rape to periods.”
This year’s performance will be directed by Patricia Dolan, the same UM theater professor and BA program advisor, who directed the play last year.
“It’s pretty amazing what she does with that show,” said Tricia Shatley, Director of the Women’s Resource Center.
The joint venture between the Counseling Center and the Women’s Resource Center is geared towards alerting and discouraging people about violence towards women.
“It’s all about violence against women,” said Shatley. “We want to educate people on campus; we want to raise awareness.”
“I saw the play on HBO and realized there was more to it than just the play,” said Gabriela Guzman, a member of V-Day’s marketing committee. “Fighting the violence is really important. Women need to stop being victimized-I just think this is really empowering.”
The V-Day college campaign, the longest-running and most far-reaching of V-Day’s global campaigns, is responsible for hundreds of colleges and universities around the world giving benefit presentations of “The Vagina Monologues” to raise awareness and money to stop violence against women and girls.
“There’s a lot of things going on, not just this,” Stead said. “We’re trying to bring awareness to all types of abuse, not just against women.”
“We want women to be comfortable with their own bodies; we want them to be comfortable saying ‘vagina,'” Shatley said.
This year’s V-Day campaign includes a march and a letter-writing campaign to protest female genital mutilation, which is still legal in Florida, among other events.
“I think it’s important for everybody to understand what’s going on-once people know the information, it’s more likely the violence will stop,” said Swenson. “Once I heard the statistics, I felt like I needed to be a part of it and to inform women of what’s going on.”
All profits from both performances are being donated to Safe Space, a shelter for women and children running from domestic violence.
“It will really be most of our proceeds, since we have so many sponsors like the residence halls and student government,” said Stead.
This is the second year The Vagina Monologues comes to UM. It is, however, the first time such an elaborate production is being organized.
“We just felt it was such an amazing show,” said Shatley. “We got such a good response last year, we felt urged to bring it back this year.”
“I can’t wait to see it,” said Lauren Swenson, one of the organizers.
“I’ve learned a lot from helping here-you don’t realize how people don’t speak up. By being aware of what’s going on it’s easier to talk about. Plus, it’s funny,” said Kimberly Needahm, a senior involved in the organization.
The Vagina Monologues will be performed at the Storer Auditorium tonight and tomorrow, at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $8 for UM students, and $25 for non-students. Tickets are available either in the UC Breezeway or at the door. For more information call Tricia Shatley at 284-5646.