here’s a thing i wrote for The Ontarion, u of guelph’s campus newspaper! four of my best friends were involved in the show, and i had way too much proud mother instinct to stop myself from blubbering over their wonderfulness!
Written by Eve Ensler in 1996, The Vagina Monologues is a powerful script created from interviews Ensler conducted with 200 women from all walks of life. These interviews, which asked questions about sex, relationships, and violence against women, were adapted into dramatic monologues that are still being performed on campuses all over North America today. The Vagina Monologues is meant to both celebrate vaginas and femininity, and call for action addressing gender-based violence – Guelph’s performance did not disappoint.
Friday night’s performance featured a pre-show gala, complete with gender and sex based resources, a silent auction, and plenty of good food and music. The cast and crew were in attendance, giving them a moment to relax and greet their friends before their opening night. Soon enough, it was show time, and the cast disappeared, leaving the crowd to fill the theatre.
The first act of the night was a reading done by Zoey Ross, a fellow writer for The Ontarion. He opened the show with a reading of his piece “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” an article he wrote on love and consent in our Jan. 15 issue. After this and some general introductions, V-day debuted a mostly-Guelph student-written play, which put the entire cast onstage for a funeral. One by one, they stood and read a monologue, many of which had been written by the actors themselves. Entitled “Burying Shame,” the show was very eloquently written. We heard stories from both men and women of how gender-based violence has affected them and their loved ones. It was incredibly moving, and as the last actor exited the stage, I found myself wanting more. Luckily, after an intermission, the cast was back with even more empowering monologues.
The Vagina Monologues had the audience laughing, crying, and wanting to crush the patriarchy. We heard monologues from a 72-year-old woman (Rachel Estok), “Down there? I haven’t been down there since 1953,” all the way down to a six-year-old girl (Emily Vance) who was sure her vagina smelled like snowflakes.
Hearing these pieces from the perspectives of women from all over the world was a learning experience for many of us in the audience. It should be noted that Ariel Slack’s performance of “The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy” was on-point, from her lingerie to her demonstration of multiple orgasms. The Vagina Monologues closed with a call to action, to the audience and to the world, crying out for revolution. Informative, entertaining, and empowering, the show not only brought attention to sexual violence, but donated 100 per cent of the proceeds raised over the three weekend shows to three beneficiaries: Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis, The Wellness Education Centre, and the Aboriginal Resource Centre.