The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Women’s Center joins in on national V-Day with ‘The Vagina Monologues’

As Valentine’s Day approaches one of the unique traditions that isn’t Hallmark cards or candlelight dinners, is the production of Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues,” which is a play that is actually a miscellany of speeches focused on female empowerment.

The women’s center has been participating in the nationwide productions of this work for around 10 years in an event called V-day, where the money taken in goes to support a women’s anti-violence group. The Daily Campus caught up with Jessica Andrewartha, the director of this year’s production, about what to expect this weekend.

How many monologues are contained within this play?

JA: Our production this year includes 12 monologues as well as two group pieces. There are probably over 20 Vagina Monologues total with pieces rotating in and out every year.

There are several optional monologues, so every production will be different. Also, every year Eve Ensler writes a new piece about the annual Spotlight topic.

How would you describe the overall feel of a performance of the Vagina Monologues?

JA: Uplifting, inspiring, warm, humorous and exciting.

This isn’t your first year working on this play (I don’t think…), how many times have you been involved with a production of it and where?

JA: This is my fourth year involved in “The Vagina Monologues” at SMU. I have been a part of organizing it every year I have been on campus, and three of the four years I have directed and acted in it.

With titles ranging from “The woman who loved to make vaginas happy” to “My vagina was my village,” do you have a personal favorite?

JA: It’s so hard for me to pick a favorite! But one of my personal favorites is “My Angry Vagina.” I love it because it’s smart, funny and really sarcastic and snarky. It’s impossible not to identify with this monologue in one way or another.

Do you have to be a feminist to like this play?

JA: First, I would like to say that I believe that as Cheris Karamarae said “Feminism is the radical idea that women are people.” Feminist means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Some people associate it with man-hating and a lot of other ugly names, but really it’s about equality and mutual respect.

That said, I think “The Vagina Monologues” rises above politics and demographics in a lot of ways. It’s about stories. It’s about women. It’s about people. It’s about learning to love yourself and finding your inner power and stopping terrible atrocities that happen around the globe. So in that respect, I think this play is for everyone, whether they identify themselves as feminists or not.

Is this a play that guys would enjoy? (Another way of asking that might be: what would a guy in the audience take away from it?)

JA: YES! I have known a lot of men who have come to this show. My parents come every year. I will never forget my Baptist-minster grandfather chanting along during the monologue “Reclaiming Cunt.”

And I’ve brought male friends and boyfriends to the show over the years. The show is fun and funny and is about trying to build healthy sexual relationships between men and women. (And women and women.) I think there’s a lot for men to take away from that.

In 1998, Eve Ensler launched V-day, which basically means that the Vagina Monologues is performed as a benefit for women’s anti-violence groups. Tell us a little bit about the charity that this production will be benefiting:

JA: The way V-Day works is that associated performances of “The Vagina Monologues” are organized through the international V-Day organization. 90 percent of the money that we raise from our performance will go to a local group that seeks to end violence against women. The last 10 percent goes to V-Day to support their annual spotlight.

This year SMU’s beneficiary is the Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center.

DARCC in a new and amazing group in Dallas offering comprehensive and compassionate care for victims of sexual violence. They offer services like a 24-hour hotline, accompaniment in seeking medical services, law enforcement and judicial services. They also offer counseling for victims and education for the community to help victims recover and help prevent rape.

Any additional comments/statements you feel might be important for the SMU student body to know about this production:

JA: This is an amazing production because it is student run. I think it’s amazing every year to watch a group of my fellow students come together to try and make a difference in the world. The play is just one part of this huge international movement to end violence against women, and it’s really incredible to be a part of something so powerful and far reaching.

“The Vagina Monologues” will be performed in the Hughes-Trigg Theater Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door, $5 for students.

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