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Student-directed play highlights female sexuality

At 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 14, 15 and 16, theatre students will perform a student-directed version of the Broadway production: “The Vagina Monologues.” “The Vagina Monologues” is an episodic play written by Eve Ensler, made up of a series of monologues inspired by interviews with over 200 women about their sexuality. Ensler once stated that the purpose of the show is to empower women by encouraging them to be comfortable with themselves and feel safe discussing the struggles of womanhood.

The play first premiered in 1996 at the Here Arts Center in New York City. It has since been performed internationally and was made into a show by Home Box Office (HBO) that starred Ensler. It has also become a charitable cause, raising money for V-Day, a movement working to end violence against women across the world. Gunn’s proceeds will be given directly to Bay Area Women Against Rape.

The monologues address issues including, but not limited to, menstruation, sexual pleasure and rape. “The monologues were created with the intent to normalize the idea of vaginas and bring awareness to the sexuality of women,” senior Addison Kamb said. Kamb has been a member of the theatre department since her freshman year and believes that this play is more powerful than anything else the Gunn Theatre Department has produced during her time here. “It was awkward doing the show and I think it will be awkward for the audience, but that’s the point,” Kamb said. “We want people to realize that it’s weird for us to be uncomfortable.” Kamb and the cast want members of the audience to leave more aware of the common experiences women share and be comfortable saying the word “vagina.”

Since the show covers some intense issues, the cast of 14 female students has worked hard together to become comfortable with all the topics. “We have become so close over the last couple of months that it feels like I have 14 new sisters,” senior co-director Holly Wright said. According to Wright, the cast is now able to discuss and perform every aspect of the monologues, and they hope that this comfort will help the audience be more at ease.

Although the play is focused on the issues women face, the cast wants men to watch it as well. “This show also gives men a chance to see and listen to what women have to say and recognize they can do something to make both sexes equal,” senior producer and co-director Wendy Kraemer said. “To me, there is nothing greater than having men support the show because it shows that they recognize the injustices done to women and they want to help.”

The show is designed to target people of all ages, so that the message can be easily spread. According to Wright, the play’s global perspective makes it easier to relate to. “It doesn’t only discuss women; it discusses the world and what’s happening to it,” Wright said. “Destruction to the bodies of women is often mirrored by some other conflict in that area: wars, unstable governments, and unjust laws.”

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