Feminine performance brings tears, laughter to campus

Jordie Oetken/The News

Rachel Clifford
Contributing writer

“The Vagina Monologues,” the award-winning play by Eve Ensler, will be presented by the Murray State Women’s Center during the week of Valentine’s Day as part of the V-Day campaign. The play is one of three that the Women’s Center will present.

“The Vagina Monologues” is the result of Eve Ensler’s interviews with 200 women about their vaginas,” Sarah Wang, producer and senior from Carrollton, Ky., said. “It’s one of the three performances we’re doing this year. The other two are ‘A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant, and a Prayer’ and ‘Any One of Us: Words From Prison.’”

Wang said the intention of the play is to shed light on what women go through.

“On the surface, the purpose is just to talk about vaginas, because it seems like a dirty word — it’s just something you’re not supposed to say,” Wang said. “The real purpose, though, is to use shock and humor and, in some cases, really heartbreaking stories to call out the reality of what women go through.”

The Vagina Monologues is part of the V-Day campaign, which was started in 1998 by Ensler. The campaign began as a way to raise awareness to end female violence.

“The whole theme of the V-Day campaign is to stop violence against women,” Wang said. “Violence against women is very prevalent. It occurs and it’s nothing that we need to sweep under the rug or push behind a closed door. ‘The Vagina Monologues’ is just a part of the movement, and it tends to be more lighthearted, but it has a shock value that’s attracted thousands of people to see how violence affects women.”

Jamie Booth, director and senior from Bowling Green, Ky., first found out about “The Vagina Monologues” when she was in high school.

“The first time I saw ‘The Vagina Monologues’ was on TV during high school,” Booth said. “It didn’t really affect me the way it did when I got to college. I went to see it my sophomore year and last year I did a couple of monologues in it. This year, not only am I directing the production, but I’m also doing one monologue.”

Booth said she hopes her contribution to the production helps the actresses connect to the characters they portray and really understand what they are going through.

“I hope I got some of the girls, especially the new ones, to think about their characters and who they’re portraying,” Booth said. “I really hope they’re thinking about their characters and getting into it, and understanding these women’s stories. Hopefully I’ve made some sort of difference in the girls I’ve been working with.”

Ultimately, Wang said she would like the play to encourage women to embrace who they are and how they feel.

“The whole point is to give voice to something that’s considered a dark thing,” Wang said. “I would like for women to take away that it’s OK to talk about their vaginas and what’s happening and how they feel as women. It’s not a dirty thing to be proud of having a vagina. We want to have an open conversation about, not just vaginas, but who women are as women and embracing that.”

Booth, too, hopes the play stays with the audience after it’s over.

“I hope people have a new respect for women and women’s stories,” Booth said. “I think that people will be able to understand women better, especially for men who come to see the show. For women, I hope they find something they can relate to like I did.”

“The Vagina Monologues” will be performed at 7 p.m. tonight and Saturday in Wrather Auditorium.

General admission is $8 and student admission is $5.