The Vagina Monologues Return To State College
The Vagina Monologues are returning to Penn State after their last performance two years ago. The performance, hosted by Triota, and written by Eve Ensler, aims to “firmly shout ‘no’ to the violence against women and children, and also celebrate women’s sexuality, strength, and humor.”
The actors strive to send the message to support women and feminism through a series of monologues about empowerment while using the vagina as a symbol. All of the monologues focus on the same message and include topics like losing your virginity and childbirth.
“For more than a decade, The Vagina Monologues has given voice to experiences and feelings not previously exposed in public and brought a deeper consciousness to the conversation around ending violence against women and girls.”
The cast of 17 are all women, some of whom are members of No Refund Theater and Thespians, and have participated in the Vagina Monologues before. Amanda Goldberg, the director of the production and a junior majoring in women’s studies, said, “The rules to be in the Vagina Monologues is you have to either be born with a vagina or lead your life as a woman, so trans-men and trans-women are welcome to take part. I’m working to make the show as trans-inclusive as possible.”
There are 18 monologues total, all representing a different group of women ranging from older women to young women and transgender women. The monologues speak about having one united voice and supporting all girls.
The series of mini-speeches leaves the audience in tears; most of the time from laughing, and sometimes from crying. “They Beat the Girl Out of My Boy” is one of the monologues expressing the hardships and fears of transgender men and women. Each monologue is spoken from the first person point-of-view, making the speech more personal and moving. “There are some monologues that are heartbreaking and some that are hilarious,” Gretchen Ray, a senior majoring in human development and family studies, said. “It’s all truthful and everything you hear from them happened to real people.”
The actors made the monologues personal to Penn State by frequently referencing to the vagina as “The Happy Valley.”
The cast is a group of tight-knit women coming from all different backgrounds and majors, who all share one thing in common: their passion for feminism. “Finding support in other feminist women has been the best part of this show so far,” Anna Terasky, a sophomore majoring in environmental resource management, said.
The actresses add that telling people about the Vagina Monologues and trying to explain the purpose was a difficult feat. “Feminism has such a negative connotation to it so I got a lot of mixed reactions when I told people I was doing this show,” Ray said. “That was the most difficult part for me. You’re defending a stance right there just telling people that you’re a part of this.”
The cast members mention the hard work they put in the past four months to get the production together, which has only helped the group bond. “The show has really taught us a lot and has impacted our own views,” Ray said. “We’re aware that we have support for each other and that’s really cool.”
“Everyone is very prepared, so I’m excited,” Goldberg said. “It’s going to be so good.”
The Vagina Monologues is February 12 and 13 in the Schwab Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 7:00. The show is free and general admission, with tickets available at the door. Visit their Facebook page to find out more.