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WIT Theatre premiers “Vagina Monologues”

October 22, 2010

When I descended to the bottom of the Haldeman-Thiessen building I didn’t know what to expect from a production titled “Vagina Monologues.” I walked into the WIT Theatre to see a slightly elevated stage carefully lit by blue and white lights giving the set a gentle glow.

The setting is simple: there are couches, chairs, coffee tables and side tables.  The rest of the seating is set up with a corner coffee shop theme. The actresses sit on the furniture placed on stage as well as among the audience members during the monologues.

Instead of a one on one with the audience, the setting established a casual discussion between the audience and the actresses. The setting is one of the most important aesthetics of the “Vagina Monologues.”

The “Vagina Monologues” is a series of monologues that don’t just elaborate on the topic of vaginas, but on several issues that women of all ages go through.

The WIT theatre production is directed by senior Jennifer Erbes who is a theater and religious studies major. Directing “Vagina Monologues” was a part of her independent studies class for her theater major.

“It’s about women’s empowerment and overcoming obstacles,” said Erbes. “The monologues have serious issues such as rape, homelessness and mutilation.  The actresses have been able to relate to the parts which made it more personal and would make the characters their own.”

The monologues started with subjects about what your vagina would wear and say, along with personal stories from an elderly woman just discovering her clitoris and a young girl experiencing her first period. 

As a man sitting through this play I expected to start feeling out of place and uncomfortable among all this vagina talk. On the contrary, I enjoyed the monologues very much. Aside from the serious stories, I found most of the monologues humorous. One of the more amusing scenes was when junior Ellen Boshart was displaying the many variations of a woman’s moan.

I then looked at the audience, some sat on the edge of their chairs and others had a serious posture.  However, the audience was attentive and was accepting of the monologues. All were laughing at the funnier parts and all were dead silent and listening to the personal accounts of rape and self-consciousness about one’s body.

Junior Danielle Kita said, “I guess I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I heard it was funny and it is. It’s not as awkward as I thought.”

“I like the setting it’s a lot more casual” said sophomore Michael Carioto. “I’ve seen [The Vagina Monologues] before where it’s a more of a one on one with the audience. They are sitting as a part of the audience and it makes talking about vaginas less awkward.”

The Vagina Monologues are an eye opening view into the world that a lot of women are uncomfortable to discuss. The setting relaxes the audience while the actresses draw in their attention.

The direction by Erbes is exceptional as well as the performances from the women willing to embody the women in the stories.  This is a play that I would recommend students, faculty and the community to come and watch.

BY JOE FLORIO
Photography Manager

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