Vagina. It’s a word that rang through the rafters of the Student Union Theatre last week.
The Women’s Center presented two benefit performances of “The Vagina Monologues” last Wednesday and Thursday evening.
Twenty female actors were on stage throughout the performances, each one arrayed in a vibrant shade of red.
“The Vagina Monologues” is and is not what you think it is.
It is an opportunity for women to vent sexual frustration and talk openly about sexual offenses committed against them in a way that makes audience members squirm with discomfort.
It is not an angerfest for fired-up divas and bra-burning feminists.
It carries different meanings for different people, and for those who are brave enough to enter in with an open mind, it means changing the way one thinks about vaginas.
Around this time each year, the Women’s Center publicizes and presents its rendition of Eve Ensler’s celebrated play.
All of the monologues were written based on real stories and real women.
For weeks, UMKC students are bombarded with posters, pamphlets and press releases announcing this year’s performance of “The Vagina Monologues.”
The title is racy enough to merit plenty of press and public attention and the sentiments of those who have yet to succumb to the power of this contemporary masterpiece are alarmingly similar.
These similar sentiments were captured in the conversation of two audience members who shall remain anonymous:
“Let’s see what ‘The Vagina Monologues’ are about! This title should either attract people or repel them,” said the woman.
“But it makes guys feel like the enemy,” said the man.
“Yeah, my daughter’s in the play, and her father refused to come,” said the woman.
The performances thrive on tension. Every monologue is performed by playing off of that tension. Some monologues pacify the tension, whereas others bring it to full throttle and aggravate it.
The opening monologue raised tension by asking, “I bet you’re worried… about vaginas?”
The play takes one of the most awkward words in Western culture and transforms it by showing how it is a multi-faceted phenomenon.
The monologues run the entire gamut of emotions with the intention of helping the audience come to terms with the trauma of sexual violence as well as the spirit of sexuality.
Residential Life Coordinator Katie Garey volunteered at the event.
“It’s really a forum for women to talk about things that affect their day to day lives. We have the same experiences, regardless of our backgrounds,” Garey said. She has viewed the performances four times at UMKC and eight times total.
While this play is mostly about women, every monologue can offer valuable insight for people of every sex and gender.
This play has had an enormously positive effect on female audiences, and one wonders why a male counterpart to “The Vagina Monologues” hasn’t surfaced?
For those who are still on the fence about this play, consider catching it next spring. The Women’s Center continues to present the play every February as part of their V-Day Campaign.