Bold and upfront.
“The Vagina Monologues” gave students a different way of celebrating Valentine’s Day weekend, focusing on stigmas tied to a woman’s body.
Co producer Emma Tuthill, an Ohio junior, said the show’s goal is to induce change.
“It’s supposed to make people uncomfortable in that we’re trying to make social change and basically have less of a stigma about the female body,” Tuthill said. “If you’re not really making people uncomfortable, then you’re not really changing anything.”
Sponsored by Students Advocating Gender Equality, the play ran through the weekend in Anspach 161 with all donations going to support Sexual Aggression Peer Advocates. Tuthill said she got involved after seeing the monologues for the first time last year.
“I knew that I wanted to get involved, but I didn’t really have the guts to jump up on stage and be part of it my first year,” Tuthill said. ”So, I wanted to kind of get behind the scenes.”
Along with co-producer junior Hannah Mollett of Ortonville and sophomore director Alexis Achterhof of Brutus, Tuthill began reserving rooms, securing props and making sure the event was well advertised.
While props were minimal, Achterhof said she tried to switch them up this year to give the show more flexibility.
Achterhof, who performed in the monologues last year before taking the position of director, brought variety to the performance by splitting single monologues between multiple people, as well as changing the color scheme from orange to purple.
“The writer of the show, Eve Ensler, she prefers if you use vaginal colors,” Achterhof said. “She says ‘think vaginally,’ so what we try to do every year is use kind of like a black scheme with an accent color that has to do with vaginas somehow.”
The show itself, written in 1996 by activist Eve Ensler, consists of several monologues centering around the vagina, self-exploration and identity, sexual assault and birth. The performance moved quickly from one character to the next, effectively bringing the audience from fits of laughter to tense silence at a moment’s notice.
One topic of particular emphasis was women’s feeling about their vaginas and, in comparison, themselves. Several monologues focused on the elusive and foreign nature of the vagina, and how being comfortable in one’s own skin is directly related to one’s feelings about it.
The monologues within the performance were also based on real interviews with women.
Sophomores Matthew Maas of Flushing and Brandon Kukal of White Cloud were in attendance to support a mutual friend on stage, and had mixed reactions to the bold, and sometimes vulgar, monologues.
“It was interesting,” Kukal said. “There was funny parts (and) there was really serious parts. There were some things I didn’t agree with (and) some things I agreed with.”
While neither student heard anything about the monologues beforehand, Maas said they knew the proceeds went to support a good cause, which compelled them to see it.