Each year the Gustavus campus, along with many others across the nation, hosts V-Week. V-Week is a weeklong celebration of women and their vaginas. It concludes with performances of Eve Ensler’s play The Vagina Monologues. This year, the Gustavus performances of The Vagina Monologues are on the evenings of Friday, March 5, 2010 at 7:00 p.m., and Saturday, March 6, 2010 at 7:00 p.m., with a special show featuring only junior and senior women on Saturday afternoon at 3:00 p.m.
Junior Psychology Major and Vagina Monologues coordinator Leigh Ann Mason said, “The Vagina Monologues is a compilation of interviews. The creator and author of The Vagina Monologues, Eve Ensler, interviewed over 200 diverse women about their vaginas and sexual experiences. The monologues are a great representation of what women enjoy and what women struggle with.”
The profits of the various The Vagina Monologues performances around the nation are given to Ensler’s nonprofit entitled V-Day. The mission of V-Day is to raise awareness and provide prevention of violence against women. Since the debut of The Vagina Monologues, over $50 million have been sent to this organization. The Gustavus performances will send 90 percent of their profits to RAINN, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network.
This year’s cast is one of the largest Gustavus has had, and every woman participating in it is passionate about the message that The Vagina Monologues proclaims. Senior Management and Communication Studies Major Jenny Broman said, “I’m excited about being able to educate the Gustavus campus about the multitude of issues surrounding the female sex.”
Freshman History major Ally Mason said, “I decided to participate in The Vagina Monologues because I believe it is a great opportunity to raise awareness in a unique, exciting way. I wanted to bond with women who believe the same things I do and are ready to get the word out.”
The women of the cast have been preparing by getting together to read through the script, as well as serving on a committee to help the event. Junior Religion Major and The Vagina Monologues coordinator Megan Myhre said, “We have been meeting with our cast members to run through our monologues, especially the group ones, and getting publicity going for V-Week.”
Throughout V-Week, which begins March 1, 2010 and ends with the final showing of The Vagina Monologues, the cast will be tabling to promote attendance at this year’s event. Myhre said, “People should come to the performances because it is an extremely emotional and moving experience to see women coming together to talk about vaginas. It is a part of their body that is unique and beautiful, most often forgotten about and most often hurt. It is important to share these experiences with others so that they know that they are not alone. Also, it’s a good way for men to come to understand a little more about the women in their lives.”
First-year Psychology Major Hannah Durbin said, “You should go because you’ll probably see someone at the show [who] you wouldn’t expect. It’s vulgar and hilarious and moving all wrapped into one.”
In addition to the benefit that the Gustavus performances will provide for V-Day and RAINN, having the performances on campus is benefitting the Gustavus community as well.
“I think The Vagina Monologues is such a clever way of making public all the issues that women have to face. As a community, we can’t turn our back on that sort of thing,” Durban said.
“The Vagina Monologues helps unify the women on the Gustavus campus. That does not mean, however that men cannot fully enjoy what we do on stage. There are serious moments and funny ones, and having The Vagina Monologues at Gustavus helps us all appreciate womanhood in the way the author, Eve Ensler does,” Senior Alice Schwantes said.
The Vagina Monologues will be performed March 5 and 6 in Bjorling Recital Hall. Tickets are $5 for Gustavus students and $8 for non-students. Questions can be sent to one of the two Gustavus The Vagina Monologues coordinators: Leigh Ann Mason at firstname.lastname@example.org or Megan Myhre at email@example.com.