Enter the Vagina Monologues



Apfelbaum, Alexis

The Palace Theater is alive tonight, and the audience is buzzing. Words fly through the air — words we assume to be dirty, like cunt, sex, rape, lust, violence, tits, vagina, vagina, vagina; we can’t seem to stop ourselves. This is our time to be free, to say what’s on our minds – the audience is ready to see something that will challenge the norms and assumptions of masculine power, masculine dominance and feminine adherence to masculine demands.The audience seems nearly ready to get up onto the stage itself. During the “clittail hour” (a feminine take on the commonly-used masculine phrase “cocktail”) before the show, pamphlets on stopping domestic violence are passed around by members of the community. Meanwhile, on stage, local talent The Swan Road Trio croons loudly and wantonly. Then, a Colgate audience member, clad in the typical Colgate attire of tight jeans and a black turtleneck, stands up. She can’t wait for the show to begin. She raises her arms and wields a sign proudly and defiantly at both the stage and the burgeoning audience. It reads in red marker: “I have a Vagina!” We are now ready for the show to begin, and clap, as the band plays its final songs. Colgate is ready to hear what women have to say about their vaginas.The Vagina Monologues, directed by seniors Sarah Sillin and Jack Skelton and first-year Abigail Flores, was presented to an excited Colgate audience. Ninety percent of the money raised from The Vagina Monologues through ticket sales (5 dollars each) and donations will go to the Victims of Violence Resource Center. This center provides free and confidential services to those who have experienced sexual assault and domestic violence. Victims of Violence also provides community education and prevention services on issues such as sexual assault, child abuse, domestic violence and date rape.Donating the money made from The Vagina Monologues toward Victims of Violence is exactly the way in which V-Day, an organization and relief effort created by Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues, works. V-Day has become, through the work of Ensler and her supporters, a global movement to stop violence directed towards women and young girls. This violence includes, but is not limited to rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation (FGM) and sexual slavery. The idea is to raise awareness and funding, through the production of creative events such as The Vagina Monologues, which will go towards revitalizing the spirit of already existing anti-violence organizations. In 2005 alone, over 2,500 events were performed by volunteers all over the world, in theaters, community centers, houses of worship and college campuses, in an attempt to educate people on the horrors of violence against women. While The Vagina Monologues first began in the United States, its impact and the impact of the ensuing V-Day has spread worldwide. Working with local organizations, V-Day provided funding that has helped to open the first shelters for women in Egypt and Iraq. It also sponsored three national campaigns in Afghanistan, convened the “Confronting Violence” conference of South Asian women leaders and donated satellite-phones to Afghan women to keep lines of communication open. As of now, V-Day is working to end violence against women and girls in numerous countries, including Egypt, Sudan, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. The Vagina Monologues themselves have been translated into over 35 different languages and have been performed across the worldSenior Emily Drummond has participated in The Vagina Monologues twice at Colgate. This year, her monologue presented the vagina happy fact that a woman’s orgasm has two times the intensity of a man’s. On stage, clad in black with a beautiful red stone necklace, she laughed at this fact and then blurted: “Who needs a handgun, when you’ve got a semi-automatic?” This is the idea of the Vagina Monologues – to celebrate women’s sexuality and strength with both humor and elegance. Said Drummond, on being in Colgate’s performance, “I’m so glad to be a part of it. It’s really important to bring awareness. And the best part about this show is that it’s a mix of entertainment, humor and really important seriousness.” Fellow cast-member, first-year Lydie Kang, agrees with her: “It’s really important for women to express themselves. I’ve experienced violence against women. Things have to be changed.”With rehearsal for the show not beginning until January, the cast went on stage with flashcards just in case. However, they did not take away from the overwhelming feeling of professionalism one got while watching the show. Most exciting, a lot of the people in this production of The Vagina Monologues were up on stage for their first time, doing so because they thought that the issues being discussed were important enough to combat stage fright.It was not all fun and games up there though. Many times laughter would give rise to tears, as the actors would tell the stories of battered women, beaten wives, raped