Tonight, 11 women take on the journey of enraged, enslaved and outraged women who explore what it means to have a vagina. The Dream Theatre Co. will perform its last showing of The Vagina Monologues.
The Monologues, written by Eve Ensler, first performed in 1996 have continued to be recreated throughout the world.
A 2015 survey completed by Ovarian Cancer Action reported 66% of women between the ages of 18 and 24 said they were embarrassed to use the word vagina. The scientific term for the female genitalia.
In one of the monologues Ensler declares vagina to be an invisible word. A word that stirs up anxiety, awkwardness, contempt and even disgust.
Becki Arnall, founder of Dream Theatre Co., is aware of the controversy surounding the show and its title but built Dream Theatre as an extra avenue to do things that are unusual and edgy.
“It is a political theater and while we tend to remain more moderate in a lot of things the arts can be very open minded and that’s where our edginess comes in, The Vagina Monologues is one of those shows that a lot of other community organizations would not put on just because of the title and we [Dream Theatre] have the freedom to,” said Arnall.
Throughout the show, women perform their monologues written from Ensler’s interviews conducted in 1996 among women in her life to celebrate the vagina.
The song “Because He Liked to Look At It”, performed by Andrea Provins and Jarrett Little, tells the story of a woman who was embarrassed of her body, but changed her mind after a sexual encounter with a man who spent hours looking at her vagina.
Jarret Little, sophomore vocal performance major, playing Bob, the only male in the show says its ironic because anyone who knows him knows he doesn’t really like vaginas that much, which is why he ultimately decided his role in the show was a good fit.
“I think my part in the play is more about a woman looking back on her past with a man she didn’t really feel
very attracted to in any kind of emotional way, but more of an objective way,” said Little.
The monologues explore reproduction, sex work, and commonly overlooked inequalities among the sexes. Actress Rhonda Palmer believes the show has an important message that needs to be told.
“So many of the monologues that we’re giving are important today just as they were almost 30 years ago. It’s stuff people need to hear,” said Palmer.
The play also touches on subjects of transsexuality, gender identity, immigration, and many other equality issues throughout the media. The Vagina Monologues is the cornerstone to the V-Day Movement, a movement to stop violence among girls, women, and any who identify as such.
Between the dates of Feb. 1 and April 30 participants worldwide present performances of The Vagina Monologues as a benefit to raise money for rape centers and shelters for women in their community.
The Dream Theatre Co. decided to collect admission donations to support The Lafayette House of Joplin, Missouri. The Lafayette House is a safe sanctuary, offering services to heal the effects of domestic violence, sexual assault and substance use disorders.
Briana Blair, director of the show, thinks it’s incredible to donate to a local charity like the Lafayette House where everyone can be hands on and do more than giving a donation.
“I’m excited to get to donate to the Lafayette House because I’m
incredibly passionate about domestic violence awareness and I think it’s important to give back considering how much they do for our community,” said Blair.
Amid controversy, Dream Theatre Co. believe it’s important to not only deliver the unspoken truths of inequality and the female anatomy, but to bring a greater awareness to domestic abuse where women can seek refuge, and they believe The Vagina Monologues will do just that.
“Its revolutionary,” said Blair.
“It’s not a story that everyone gets to hear, let alone gets to tell. So, I think it’s really important that it’s [The Vagina Monologues] happening in the first place, and that people get to hear them.”
Dream Theatre Co. will run its last performance of The Vagina Monologues tonight, Feb. 7 at Blackthorn Pizza & Pub. Admission donations will be taken at the door to support the Lafayette House of Joplin, Missouri Curtain is 7:30.