UCA’s Gender Studies program and the UCA Feminist Union produced and performed Eve Ensler’s award-winning play “The Vagina Monologues” in celebration of V-Day for the fourth year in a row March 12- 14.
V-Day, whose “V” stands for “Victory, Valentine and Vagina,” is celebrated March 14 as “a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls,” according to the foundation’s website, vday.org.
“The Vagina Monologues” consists of a series of skits in which actresses recite various monologues and poems dealing with various issues, including sex, rape, orgasms, birth, genital mutilation, love and masturbation.
Junior Greer Williams, the play’s director this semester, warned audience members about intense themes within the play and said there would be “trigger” warnings announced at the beginning of skits that contained such themes.
The performance, which was held in Burdick Hall 205, lasted about an hour and a half and
consisted of 15 skits and three “Vagina Happy Facts.”
During the first skit, actresses said more than 200 women were interviewed to create the skit’s monologue, claiming they were “worried about vaginas.”
The second skit was from the view of a married woman who, to her husband’s dislike, did not shave her pubic hair. When she finally did, it caused her pain and discomfort. Her husband cheated on her after she stopped shaving and continued to do so even when she began again.
The third skit involved a line of students saying what their vaginas would say or wear if they had the ability to do so.
Afterward, women ages 65-75 were interviewed to create a monologue of an old woman who had never experienced an orgasm because she had received absolutely no sexual education during her lifetime.
The proceeding skit branched off this idea, citing another older woman who went to a workshop in an attempt to “find her clitoris.”
Other skits featured in the production were more activist- oriented.
The sixth skit performed was “Ode to Oklahoma Lawmakers,” in which a woman criticized legislators after getting an abortion and was scrutinized by doing so.
Some skits were more serious, especially the skit involving a dual monologue from a Bosnian woman who was raped. The monologue was vivid and dark in its imagery and the passion behind it was sobering for audience members.
Later skits covered interviews with sex workers, women who had both good and bad experiences with men and one woman who wished to take back a term considered derogatory.
Audience members were encouraged to loudly chant the word along with the actress giving the monologue.
One skit near the end involved a monologue from the viewpoint of a 6-year-old girl, this semester played by the daughter of senior Brittaney Stockton, a returning member production cast member.
Stockton herself played the role of the 6-year-old in last year’s production, emphasizing how important it is to include many different aspects of being a woman within the production and having a diverse group of people participate.
“For me, nobody should teach a little girl that she should ashamed of who she is or what she has,” Stockton said. “We have these body parts and there’s nothing wrong with it, so why should I teach my daughter that she shouldn’t talk about it or act like it doesn’t exist when it does?”
Stockton’s daughter was protected from the more adult content production, only appearing for her own monologue.
“More so than having fun, it’s important to me because we’re doing it for a good cause,” Stockton said about to her experience with the play.
Senior Brittney Behr said she went to every rehearsal and contributed in any way she could, even to the point of helping create different types of moaning sounds for a particular skit.
“Other people find it refreshing to be able to hear these perspectives about a subject that everybody’s just told, ‘shh shh, we shouldn’t talk about it,’” Behr said. “Even on television we’re told that ‘vagina’ is a bad word, which I don’t understand because ‘vagina’ is a body part, just like ‘arm’ or ‘head’. I think it’s important to be able to say the world ‘vagina’ in a public context.”
Behr said the production is important to her specifically because she has had many negative experiences with people treating her as though she were not a “full-fledged human being.”
“Many of the pieces in this production really speak to me personally and I hope that is the way it speaks to most women, if not all,” she said. “These are all stories we can all come behind and be like, “Yes. I’ve had an experience similar to that,’ especially with pieces that apparently came up in every conversation like ‘hair’. I think it’s important that we have that dialogue.”
Tickets were sold at the door and in advance for five dollars.
Vagina-shaped chocolate lollypops were also sold at the door.
Williams said 90 percent of the production’s proceeds will go directly to the Conway Women’s Shelter. The remaining ten percent will go to the Eve Ensler Foundation.