If they could talk, what would they say; and are you listening?
It turns out that vaginas have something to say to us. Thanks to Eve Ensler’s original screenplay called The Vagina Monologues, we get some insight to what is on the minds of vaginas. Back in the ‘90s, Ensler interviewed over 200 women in order to give women a context to talk about their vaginas. Arguably the play began as a statement in support of celebrating femininity; and graduated into the movement it is today. The performance of the play now is about ending violence against women and raising money for rape crisis centers and women’s shelters.
In the play there are many individual monologues of succinct subjects delivered from the perspective of the vaginas. There is humor, there is tragedy. Monologues have been added and taken out as poignant vagina issues change as time goes by. From the original set of monologues to the current ones, we have controversy. From the words spoken in each monologue being offensive to some and to the focus of the play being on issues of importance only to women in the eyes of the uninformed, seeing the play may or may not change one’s position as to how contentious the words remain for the listener.
On Feb. 16 at 7 p.m., The Vagina Monologues will be at the Lewis Theatre on Court Street in Lewisburg. Women will be performing the monologues to raise money and food for the Family Refuge Center. The local Facebook page promoting this year’s show has become home to many opinions expressing controversy regarding the mission of the play and the seemingly male bashing monologues. Apparently this is how it goes wherever and whenever the play is performed. In rifling through the heated exchanges on the Facebook page, I finally came to a concise reasonable position on what the play is about and what it isn’t and why. Local physician and supporter of The Vagina Monologues, Leah Jones stated this, “There seems to be a lot of concern regarding why the monologues are only about women and not men. The reason is simple, because they are. They were written by someone and are being performed by people who have a passion to stop violence against women. That does not mean that I do not support efforts to stop violence against men and children. It means that on Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. I will be standing up against violence towards women. This is no different than supporting the Humane Society one day, and another cause another day. For me on this day it is about women; on another day it might be men, and hopefully one day it will be about both. If you do not share the passion to end violence against women, you probably will not enjoy the monologues.”
One of Lewisburg’s own, Alaina Hower, is returning to her fourth year with the monologues. Hower explains, “I had a roommate at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine who was the president of the club that puts on the show. I recommended the use of the Lewis Theatre to boost attendance and diversify the audience.” Hower thinks the play has been well received in our community the past few years and speaks about performing in the play. “I am narrating the show again this year and this is my favorite part. As a local I think it is easier for me to directly address the audience in this role,” she says. In the beginning Hower was hesitant to get up on a stage and personify the monologue of a woman who was raped. “But all of the words need to be heard. Every day people go through atrocious experiences and they have no outlet or help,” she says.
Be moved, be entertained and be informed. Tickets are $7 in advance and $10 at the door. Tickets may be ordered online at firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition to the ticket money, canned food will be collected on the night of the show and donated to the food pantry. Coy Flowers, a local physician and political candidate for the West Virginia House of Representatives, is offering to match each donated can of food for the Family Refuge Center.