On February 9 and 10, the fifth annual production of The Vagina Monologues attracted more than 720 attendees, raised over $3,100 and collected more than 2,500 feminine hygiene items. All proceeds went directly to the Greensboro Clara House, which is a shelter that serves domestically abused women and children.
The primary goal of “The Vagina Monologues” is to bring the dialogue on female sex, sexuality, and gendered expectations into a public space. To create the original show, Eve Ensler conducted interviews with 200 women, who provided their perspectives on sex, relationships, and violence. The tones and topics of the monologues ranged widely: some were proud, some displayed impassioned anger, and others dealt with heartbreaking accounts of trauma.
For a number of students, faculty and staff involved in the production, “The Vagina Monologues” was their acting debut, but regardless of theatrical experience, the students were able to develop and enhance their performance skills and confidence by working privately with the producers and by practicing alongside women who were supportive and encouraging. An undeniable “sisterhood” was created amongst the cast, as we journeyed through this powerful production together.
The Vagina Monologues is an award-winning play, based on the work of V-Day Founder Eve Ensler [http://www.vday.org/home] The play premiered in 1996 to immediate critical acclaim and criticism. By the late 1990s the play had undergone several revisions and had become part of a movement to stop violence against women. Ensler co-founded V-Day in 2001, partly in response to audience reactions to The Vagina Monologues. V-Day, held every February 14, now includes campaigns and events internationally and throughout the year.
V-Day also allows and encourages community groups, colleges, and universities to organize their own productions of The Vagina Monologues. UNCG’s Women’s and Gender Studies Program produced the play for many years, and after a four-year hiatus, a partnership of University professional staff, departments, and a dedicated group of student volunteers has brought it back.
V-Day has a very specific goal of ending violence against women, and changing attitudes and conditions that lead to violence. The Vagina Monologues is part of that effort as and intends to spark vigorous dialogue, and in that effort it has been very effective. Few plays have drawn such passionate defenders and critics.