Arts

Review: The Vagina Monologues, 2017

By Annie Hart, Reporter

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(Photo by Annie Hart)

A variety of female members of the Shenandoah community participated in the Vagina Monologues last weekend, Feb. 17-19.

Walking into Goodson Chapel, the setting was bare except for chairs, an electric piano, and a table. However, when 8 p.m. rolled around, there was a hustle of movement when red cloth was draped over the crowd as the actresses set up for their performance.

A large corkboard was rolled into the chapel with a sign that read “Women Who Desire Us.” The women whose pictures were tacked onto the board included mothers, politicians, actresses, singers and historical figures.

Candles were lit across the already placed table and on the balconies. Then, the actresses of all shapes, sizes, ages, and ethnicities began to speak. They introduced the monologues and gave way for their director, Sarah Celec, to speak.

Celec shared a deeply personal story regarding her sister’s brutal sexual attack that ultimately lead to her death. Celec and her partner are now raising her sister’s children. Celec discussed the young girl she is raising as someone who can and will stand up for the wrong that happened to her biological mother.

Celec’s story was the perfect introduction to a thought provoking, yet comical, production.

There were 17 monologues, some long and some short facts or questions. The topics ranged from positive experiences, to dark, negative ones. One monologue that caused the audience to roar with laughter is the one titled “My Angry Vagina.”

In it, the women described the many products women use to pretend they do not possess a real vagina, rather something that needs to be deodorized and closed off. It made light of the discomforts by calling the products by curse words or using different names all together. For example, a tampon was called a “wad of cotton.”

This monologue, as well as all the other comical monologues in the show, had me snorting with laughter.

On the other side, the negative or dark experiences were thought provoking but not all of them evoked the feeling of despair or self-hatred quite as well as expected. However, one negative monologue entitled “My Vagina was My Village” used lighting to create deep emotion that spread into the audience.

“My Vagina was My Village” was about women raped in foreign countries by soldiers. The lighting started off with a soft green as the actress recounted what she once believed about her vagina, calling it her home. Then, the lighting changed to red when recounting her sexual assaults. These light settings accompanied with change in mood went back and forth, causing the audience to sit on the edge of their seat waiting to hear the next tragedy that happened to this young woman. Finally, the light hazed blue over the actress as she had given up and stopped desiring to have her body as her home because it didn’t feel like home anymore.

The monologues ended with a choreographed dance number. After a minute of the actresses dancing with each other, they reached out to pull audience members onto the floor.

The Vagina Monologues was a multi-dimensional production that audience members soaked up with as much enthusiasm as the actresses themselves, which was an overflowing amount.

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