Monologues head V-Day

By Andrew Ross

“Think inside the box,” proclaim the posters around campus. And no, they’re not advertising the latest Dilbert spinoff. The posters advertise a production of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues, billed as part of V-Day 2002.

"V-Day is a week worth of events," explains coordinator and director Melissa Craig.

V-Day, a Feb. 14 celebration of women’s issues inspired by Ensler’s book, includes several different events-The Vagina Monologues is the main fundraiser.

"It’s made up of a volunteer cast of about 40 women split into three different casts," says Craig. "We’re fundraising for organizations that are fighting violence against women."

So what is The Vagina Monologues really about?

Just what it says it is, according to fellow coordinator and director Shelly Hering.

"The Vagina Monologues was originally put together by Eve Ensler," says Hering. "[She] interviewed 200 women on their gender, on their sexuality, their vagina and their experiences with it."

The stories then became a book
of the same name, which Ensler originally performed as a one-woman show.

"It got a lot of attention very quickly and she formed a cast to perform it," notes Hering. "Several different movements came out of that, one of which is the V-Day college campaign, which includes universities across the world."

Craig and Hering are bringing the V-Day campaign to the U of C for the first time since the event was started in other schools, although their reasons for getting involved were different.

"It’s just an incredible way to reach a very vast number of people," says Hering about the play’s potential. "It just covers so many different backgrounds. There’s something that everyone can find in it to learn from or to grow from or to challenge themselves in."

"For me, I saw Vagina Monologues last year on Valentine’s Day and really loved the monologues," offers Craig. "I think both Shelly and I just really wanted to bring it to campus to educate people and bring the awareness of women’s issues to campus."

Nonetheless, Monologues has garnered some negative attention, usually resulting from the title’s impact on the male gender. In the past, this has become a problem for other schools. However, V-Day co-coordinators try to allay such apprehension.

"The play is not bashing men. It’s only discussing women," Hering explains. "Many men have come
to me and said, ‘I would like to come, but I’m gonna be the only
man there.’"

"I think it’s an important educational piece for men," adds Craig. "It’s nothing that is horrifying, it’s nothing that is going to scare them away."

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