I think I can safely say that the word “vagina” would make the list of taboo words not to bring up in every- day conversation.
But this past Friday night at the Court Square Theater during “The Vagina Monologues,” the word “vagina” was uttered hundreds of times in front of a packed audience.
In fact, the entirety of the play was devoted solely to women and their vaginas.
“The Vagina Monologues” is a collection of monologues compiled by Eve Ensler after interviewing over 200 women.
Ensler gave them space to talk about their vaginas, and talk they did: women opened up honestly about their experiences of birth, menstruation, sexuality, and sexual abuse.
If the idea of this makes you uncomfortable, you are not alone.
I spent the first couple minutes of the production trying to restrain my initial middle school reaction to giggle every time the V word was dropped.
But by the end of the play, the message was clear to me: women’s experiences need to be talked about, not whispered behind closed doors in shame.
The play was performed in con- junction with V-Day, a global non-profit event created by Ensler to raise money for women’s anti-violence organizations. The money raised was donated to the Collins Center, a child abuse prevention and advocacy center located in downtown Harrisonburg. In this way the messages of the play were made even more real.
For me, this made the experience even more powerful, knowing that my ticket money would be going towards an organization centered on stopping some of the stories I was hearing.
The monologues were performed by nine women of all ages, who each took a turn center stage delivering their piece.
My favorite monologue was “The Flood,” a story of a 72-year-old woman who was so haunted by an embarrassing sexual encounter that it even appeared to vividly revisit her in her dreams.
But after sharing her story, she said to the audience: “You are the first person I’ve ever talked to about this stuff. I feel a little better.”
Comments like this only contributed to the entire performance to make it so much more powerful.
The women performing in this were incredibly talented and I was amazed at their confidence in delivering such difficult and extremely personal monologues.
The ability of the actresses to seriously get into the stories and make them relatable, personable and real greatly contributed to the play. They became their characters and the stories became their own.
The overarching message of universal womanhood made the play increasingly easy to relate to and the
connection to the audience even stronger. The monologues took me for a ride.
One second I was laughing and the next listening to a sobering story about rape in Bosnia.
What made the night so powerful for me is that “The Vagina Monologues” embraced everything in between.
There was no shying away from the reality of violence and horror that
thousands of women have experienced because of sexual abuse and rape.
Yet, we still could celebrate along- side the women in their stories of birth, love, and the human body.
By the end of “The Vagina Monologues,” I felt no shame about vaginas. I am so glad I could participate in this powerful V-Day event alongside other women and men around the