Monologues Spreads Message of Self-Appreciation
The Vagina Monologues, a play by Eve Ensler, was
first produced 12 years ago, it sparked a sort of revolution,
helping women regard their bodies with fresh appreciation
and insisting on a new societal comfort regarding women’s
bodies and identities. Since then, the play has become much
more than a stage production, broadening, through Ensler's
, into a worldwide phenomenon focused on helping
women wherever they are oppressed.
For several years, Smith
students have annually staged a production of The
Vagina Monologues, around Valentines' Day, for consistently
enthusiastic audiences. This year’s performance will take
place on Saturday, Feb. 13, at 7:30 p.m. in John M. Greene
Hall. Ticket proceeds will benefit the national V-Day campaign
and, locally, Safe Passage, a shelter for women and children
in abusive situations.
Student performers recently
responded to questions about the production.
Gate: How does
participating in The Vagina Monologues change or strengthen
your attitudes toward yourself as a woman?
The Vagina Monologues are trying to make us all
more comfortable with the word "vagina." This is especially
important because, as my father says, our society is already
comfortable with saying the words for male genitalia. Performing
in The Vagina Monologues is one of my favorite parts of
being at Smith. It is a day when we celebrate that we are
Krauskopf ’10: This show makes me consider
my womanhood in a new light, as something worthy of acknowledgment,
appreciation and celebration. The
Vagina Monologues has
definitely reaffirmed that I'm coming into my own womanhood
as a dynamic person, and it inspires me to be more assertive
and confident as a woman—all very positive things!
From the time we are young, other adults continue to tell
us that anything that has to do with a vagina is a shameful
topic of discussion. However, as actors it is our job to
tell the stories of these women as truthfully as possible.
In order to give a truthful performance we have to push aside
any shame and experience the story along with these characters.
Telling a real woman’s story gives us the opportunity to
be more familiar with something that is so important to us
as women, and therefore more comfortable with our identity.
Kaelin ‘10: I think women's sexuality is so often
for public consumption—plastered on billboards, in yogurt
commercials, music videos. I appreciate it when a display
of female sexuality is on her own terms.
Gate: What is the
strongest message you take away from the play?
Guilfoile: Love yourself, love who you are, love your
body—which is a beautiful and empowering thing that people
from any race, culture, religion, ability, or sexual orientation
can relate to on some level. Everybody has had an interaction
with a vagina at some point in his or her life. And every
woman has had some experience—whether it be positive, negative
or indifferent—when it comes to her vagina. These experiences
are important to talk about.
Why is it important to continue producing
this play and bringing it to audiences?
the feminist progress made through the ages, the vagina remains
shrouded in so much mystery and shame! It's often seen as
something separate and taboo, when it is so much a part of
ourselves that begs to be explored! The
Vagina Monologues brings the vagina's true beauty and power to the forefront,
as well as exposes the trauma and atrocity that many vaginas
have been subjected to. The play makes all women conscious
of their vaginas as sources of energy, humor, power and knowledge;
and it's our job to keep showing women that through coming
to know our vaginas, we can come to know ourselves.
Kaelin: There is a level of exposure that is necessary,
but more than that, a feeling of commonality and community—there
are still untold, unwritten and unperformed stories and The
Vagina Monologues acknowledges that.
What might you guess people will gain
by attending the Smith production of The
Gain a better perspective on what it means to be a female
after watching this play. Nothing quite like walking a mile
in another's vagina—er, shoes—to understand
where she's coming from!