Whether you’ve stumbled upon this article by mistake or you’re an avid ASInside reader, today you’re in for an extra special treat. You’re about to go behind the scenes for a special ASInside look at the 2011 Vagina … Monologues! No Pun Intended!
The Vagina Monologues, a long running tradition here at Cal Poly Pomona, took place this past weekend in the Bronco Student Center’s Ursa Major Suite. Pink and red hearts with empowering quotes such as “Woman is the best thing ever. Appreciate us” and inundated the lobby in front of Ursa Major. Vagina inspired treats, an audience favorite, were also sold here. You definitely knew where you were just by taking a quick look around as you entered the Vagina Warrior Zone.
What is a Vagina Warrior? According to Jenny Powell, student co-director of the Vagina Monologues, “a vagina warrior can be anyone! You become a vagina warrior when you become part of the cause, when you speak up for the cause, and you want to be part of the movement to end violence, to speak up and say this isn’t okay,” Powell said.
As a fellow vagina warrior and a cast member of this year’s Vagina Monologues, I’d like to focus on the core of what the monologues are all about: awareness. Eve Ensler’s “Vagina Monologues” are based off interviews with 200 diverse women about their experiences with sexuality. They are meant to shock, entertain, but most importantly educate the audience about women’s issues. They’re a platform for the female voice, which is so often suppressed in today’s society, to finally be heard loud and clear. Sure, the show has its share of controversy; there are monologues that feature several different types of moans as well as those that recount sexual abuse. In fact, the Vagina Monologues would probably receive an “R” rating for strong language and sexual content.
Mayra Lewis, assistant coordinator for the Violence Prevention and Women’s Resource Center and self-proclaimed Vagina Warrior Mentor, said that “although the show is controversial, it creates dialogue about women’s issues, which is the whole point of the show.” Mayra also talks about the global reach of the production.
“Ten percent of proceeds go to V-Day, a worldwide organization that fights for women’s rights,” said Lewis. “This year we are focusing on helping women in Haiti…after the earthquake, there is no safe housing for women who are forced to live in tents with no protection. This money will go towards building safe houses as well as providing counseling and support.”
So now you may be thinking, “OK, we know what the Vagina Monologues are and why they are around at CPP, but where’s the inside scoop on the behind-the-scenes action? What really goes down before, during and after the show?”
Well, there’s definitely more to the Vagina Monologues than what the audience see. Leah Moore, one of the student co-directors of the monologues, said “It’s not just being on stage and talking, there’s a process.”
First, the cast goes through an audition process in which any female is welcome to and encouraged to be a part of.
“All women who audition are given the opportunity to be in the production, we don’t turn people away,” Moore said.
After the cast is set, there are a number of “bonding experiences” before the show. Together the cast attends a mixer following a retreat shortly after.
“The mixer creates bonding experiences that carry over to the retreat. Women in the cast who have been victimized are inspired to speak out and even those who haven’t been victimized feel empowered just by hearing other women’s stories,” Lewis said.
When asked to comment on the backstage experience, DJ Johnson, who performed the “Angry Vagina” monologue, said it was “crazy, exciting and nerve racking. We were all supporting each other, helping with hair, make-up, being there to rehearse with…for me, I gained new friends and a new support group.”
Opal Grant, who performed the much talked about “The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy” better known as “the one with all the moans,” refers to this year’s cast as “the family we’ve made in the last couple months.” She encourages “all women to do it and all men to come see it!”
Now are you convinced why this is one of the most talked about productions at CPP each year? Sad that you missed out? Not to worry! It’s not too late to get in on the action. Friday, Feb. 25 the Vagina Warrior’s crew is hitting the SAP button and bringing you the Vagina Monologue en Espanol (Los Monologos de la Vagina!) It will be the same time and same place. Don’t be the one hearing about it. Be the one talking about it.