“The Vagina Monologues” Entertains and Educates FSU

People have the tendency to giggle when someone brings up the award-winning play “The Vagina Monologues,” simply because it contains the word “vagina.” The title probably sounds absurd to people who don’t know what the play is about or how serious the subject matter is. Although the play is pretty much what the title suggests – a series of vagina-related monologues by women –  the play is nothing close to absurd.

Ensler wrote and first performed “The Vagina Monologues” in 1994 and received a ton of praise and support. As an activist and feminist, she didn’t stop there. Inspired, she started V-Day, a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. Ensler affected so many women who saw the play on tour that in 1998, she began allowing groups around the world to produce a performance of the play and to use the proceeds on projects and programs, like shelters and rape crisis centers, that help female victims of violence.

The wave that Ensler has made with “The Vagina Monologues” is a lot bigger than she originally intended. V-Day, which began as one event in New York City in 1998, today includes over 5,800 events annually, including V-Day @ FSU, Frostburg State University’s contribution.

The first act of FSU’s rendition of the play deals with the theme of women not knowing what their vaginas look like or how they work. “The Vagina Workshop” highlights the ignorance people have of the appearance of a vagina and the clitoris. When the woman in this monologue (played by the play’s assistant director, Lucy Blumberg) first truly discovers her vagina, she says, “It was better than the Grand Canyon, ancient and full of grace.” Blumberg took this monologue by storm.

A few of the other monologues in act one include a transgendered woman’s account of her childhood and adulthood, an exploration of the wild nicknames people have for vaginas, and the story of a man who claims to know a woman’s soul by looking at her vagina.  Then there’s “My Angry Vagina,” a rant about all the ridiculous injustices a vagina faces, included tampons, douche bags and the tools used by gynecologists. Crystal Moore, a sophomore, did an amazing job with this monologue. Although the rant is mainly supposed to be humorous, it holds so much truth.

Act two had subject matter across the spectrum. Amber Jacobus kicked it off with a monologue called “My Short Skirt.” This monologue tells an all-too-common story about the stigma that comes with “revealing” clothing. It brings power to women and makes it quite clear that someone’s “short skirt” isn’t “an invitation, a provocation, an indication.” Later in act two, Lauren Crawford portrays a sex worker in “The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy.” The content of this monologue shows the importance of pleasuring a woman and even examines the beauty of it.

The crew of this year’s rendition of “The Vagina Monologues” includes director Hannah Blankenbeckler, assistant director Lucy Blumberg, stage manager Bridget Willingham and lighting designer Erik Braun. The cast includes Abigail Lowe, Amber Jacobus, Braelyn Russell, Crystal Moore, Erienne McEldowney, Jasmine Proctor, Jessica Woods, Lauren Crawford and Pateley Bongiorni. The job done by the cast and crew is phenomenal, and the impact they are making is incredible. Through the hard work of past and present cast and crew, Frostburg continues to be a vagina-friendly town.

“The Vagina Monologues” will be held on Feb. 20th at 7:30 p.m. in the Pealer Recital Hall of the Performing Arts Center. Before the performance, there will be an information festival that will feature campus and community groups that provide assistance to victims and survivors of abuse, the Clothesline Project and V-Day merchandise.

Tickets for the play are $6 for students and $12 for the public. All proceeds from tickets and merchandise go to the Dove Center, the Family Crisis Resource Center and the V-Day Spotlight, which is One Billion Rising: Revolution.

Please visit vday.org for more information on V-Day, the play, or how to get involved and/or donate.

Cover photo by Miranda Hanson.

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