By Kendall Melton, Reporter
Female students, faculty, and staff at Shenandoah University are performing Eve Ensler’s series of monologues “The Vagina Monologues” this weekend.
The show will be performed in Goodson Chapel at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. The run time is 1 hour.
“Rehearsals started on January 18, the Wednesday right after winter break,” said Sarah Celec, director of The Vagina Monologues and Brandt Student Center Event Services manager and lover of worshiping arts. “The process has been hectic because it’s been short, but also fun and exciting.
“The Vagina Monologues is a series of monologues that come with some rules from the author,” said Celec. “The rules are that you have to include as many women as possible.” This year’s cast consists of 28 women of all shapes, sizes, races, religions, ages, and cultural backgrounds.
Celec said the show is about “a diverse group of women coming together to talk about something that is extremely important: happy and traumatic things that have happened to their vaginas. It brings a taboo subject to light.”
“The Vagina Monologues is about empowerment of women,” said Olivia Baker, a senior music education major. “It raises ideas and thoughts that aren’t typically shared out loud with people.”
“I’ve always been passionate about talking about vaginas,” said Celec. “We need to be in a place where we don’t need to put on a show to talk about vaginas. If continuing to produce a show like this allows women to openly talk about their vaginas, then maybe my daughter will be able to keep the five-year-old innocence that she has now when she talks about her vagina. Society teaches little girls to be ashamed of that part of their body, so my goal is to make my daughter feel powerful and strong and this can only happen if we continue to talk about it.”
Baker said, “The Vagina Monologues is such good advocacy for so many issues that don’t ever get the light of day and the women who face them. I wish more people saw this show.”
“Goodson Chapel feels like home to me,” said Celec. “It is powerful that we perform a show called the Vagina Monologues in a place that is associated with God and religion. There is such healing and wholeness in the idea that women’s vaginas are sacred and we are performing this show in a sacred place.”
This show has been officially performed at Shenandoah for two years, but each year is different, according to Celec.
“I have never cast the same person in the same piece,” she said. “There’s always a fresh new take for each monologue because everyone interprets a monologue differently. There are also different elements with the staging, lighting, and music.”
“The Vagina Monologues is different all over the world, wherever you go,” said Celec. “It continues to be a powerful piece of social justice theatre that impacts the world.”
Tickets can be purchased in the Not Just Women’s Center and at the door before the show. The cost is $1 for Shenandoah students, $5 for Shenandoah faculty and staff, and $10 for anybody else. All proceeds benefit the Winchester branch of the Laurel Center, a center for stopping domestic and sexual violence.