Monologues performance brings students together
Let’s talk about pain and pleasure, affection and violence, fear and courage. Let’s talk about our mothers, sisters, friends and classmates. Let’s talk about vaginas.
The UH Women’s Resource Center in partnership with the Gamma Rho Lambda sorority and the UH Student Feminist Organization hosted a stirring performance of Eve Ensler’s “Vagina Monologues” this past weekend. The proceeds will be donated to the Women’s Home in Houston.
The monologues were inspired by a series of interviews Ensler conducted with hundreds of women concerning female sexuality, gender-based violence and body image. Audiences chuckled, cried and sympathized as the all-female cast gave voice to millions of women across the world who have had life altering experiences.
“It was my first time seeing the Vagina Monologues,” said psychology junior Krystal Debose. “It was interesting seeing them going over different types of stories. And seeing how for some women their experience was empowering and for others it wasn’t what they thought it would be.”
Although the monologues were fused with quirky comments and jokes, there was a sense of genuine frustration and intrigue throughout. The cast members were dedicated to their roles and each woman contributed their particular style and personalities to the characters.
Creative writing senior Joy Lester met the challenge of playing a significantly older woman with a charming impersonation that was influenced by her late grandmother and an elder family friend.
In the monologue, a woman in her seventies shares an embarrassing nightmare that stemmed from a fear of ejaculating. She experienced the nightmares since her first time ejaculating as a young woman until cancer forced her to get a hysterectomy later in life.
“When I first read this monologue,’ Lester said, “I thought to myself, I wouldn’t want to be that kind of woman who grows up and doesn’t have any knowledge of her body or anything. But it is something that a lot of women go though. They’re afraid to look at and experiment with their own bodies.”
Ensler began her mission to uncover the unspoken truth about vaginas because she was displeased with the taboos surrounding them, and more afraid of the consequences of women not talking about them.
Sarah Wood, political science senior and the Student Feminist Organization president believes that the monologues go beyond appreciating the vagina on an anatomical level, but encourages self-discovery and a universal understanding of womanhood.
“It’s not just about knowing your vagina, but it’s getting to know you and knowing everything about you that makes you who you are,” Wood said. “And also the idea of having to take control and power over your own life. I’m still growing and learning the importance of that.”
In the play Wood performs two monologues, the first about a businesswoman taking the time to discover her clitoris and the other about sex worker in the business of pleasure. Wood is also a leader for the Voices of Planned Parenthood organization on campus.
While the monologues touched on common subjects like pubic hair, feminine hygiene and orgasms, there were portions that covered complex issues like rape and genital mutilation.
Communication junior Tina Loraine performed a monologue Ensler wrote reflecting the pain women in Bosnia and Kosovo experienced during years of mass rape that went unprosecuted.
“It’s a hard piece to do because it is very, very emotional and the imagery is vivid and impactful,” Lorraine said.
Lorraine said she enjoyed listening to “My Vagina is Angry” because it created various shades of emotion with in the piece and gives the audience a chance to breathe before diving into the more graphic material.
The performance ended with a stunning video presentation that raised awareness of the Vagina Day, otherwise known as the V-day movement. V-day is centered around a free, world-wide event celebrated on February 14.