Opening Minds and Thighs:

Deryn Varney

The Palace Theater was packed last Friday around 7 p.m. with audience members waiting in anticipation for the second of two Colgate University performances of The Vagina Monologues. To those in the audience who had never related appetizers to genitals, the “clit-tails” served before the show may have been unsettling. To those who had never related Hurricane Katrina to an abused and exploited vagina, the introduction to The Vagina Monologues was startling as well.

The Vagina Monologues, generally perceived as too hilarious to be awkward and too socially relevant to be ignored, were presented as a series of vivid monologues based on prominent themes from interviews with hundreds of diverse women. Equally important, they were a two-hour exercise in not being shocked to see private parts bathed in spotlight.

The purpose of the production may have seemed counterintuitive to anyone who has experienced the phenomenon of repeating a word until it loses all meaning. By repeating the word “vagina,” in addition to a long list of nicknames that included “peach,” “box,” and “nappy dugout, “the production sought to dispel cultural taboos and imbue vaginas with renewed significance. Interspersed with “vagina facts,” twelve monologues were presented.

The first scene, “Hair,” was about the pains of shaving “down there.” Other monologues included “The Flood,” “Because He Liked to Look at It” and “My Vagina was a Village.”

The fifth monologue, “My Angry Vagina,” was the first unrestrained crowd-pleaser. The audience exploded in cheers when senior Franny Iacuzzi stomped onto the stage to tell the crowd: “My vagina is pissed off.”

First-year Becky Fisher enjoyed this monologue because it was humorous while talking about serious issues. She found “The Angry Vagina” empowering, although she also noted that that wasn’t its best feature.

“My favorite part,” Fisher said, “was not about being ultra-feminist but about breaking cultural taboos.”

Each monologue was evocative, but boys may have felt lost during “My Angry Vagina,” which was an impassioned rant about topics like the gynecologist and dry cotton tampons. However, only a handful of boys were present.

First-year Andrew Grego was one of that handful. He said he enjoyed another monologue, “The Vagina Workshop,” which was a sketch about the emotional trials of a girl both trying and trying not to find her clitoris during a vagina workshop.

“She seemed so sincere,” Grego said.

First-year Francesca Gallo enjoyed “The Vagina Workshop” for similar reasons.

“I really liked the innocence her character portrayed while talking about such a ‘racey’ subject,” Gallo said.

Among the monologues that came after intermission, and more clit-tails. came “Little Coochi Snorcher that Could,” Six-Year-Old Girl” and “The Woman Who Liked to Make Vaginas Happy.” Performed by Junior Emily Ha, who was seated onstage with a tight black corset and stocking, “The Woman Who Liked to Make Vaginas Happy” was about an ex-lawyer-turned-sex-therapist who loved – loved – to hear women moan. The final monologue, “My Short Skirt,” delivered the message: “My short skirt is not an invitation.”

Passionate and empowering, The Vagina Monologues demanded that women unify and stand up for their sexuality. Proceeds from the show, whose audience clapped in demonstration of its appreciation, benefited two organizations with the goal to free women from domestic violence and one to aid women in New Orleans and the Gulf-area South.