Katie Cline, Editor-in-Chief
Alpha Psi Omega (APO), Women’s Issues, Support and Empowerment (W.I.S.E.) and the Sociology Club of JSU will be hosting a benefit reading of “The Vagina Monologues” by Eve Ensler on February 23 and 24. Proceeds will benefit 2nd Chance Inc., a local domestic violence and sexual assault prevention and response center.
“This show has a chance to make a big impact in our community,” said Alexis Paige, a sophomore sociology and pre-law major in charge of marketing and behind-the-scenes planning for the show. “The money raised from this event will go a long way in helping [Second Chance] protect and help women.”
The play is set up as a series of monologues. Characters are undefined, allowing a wide range of actresses to portray any one speaker.
“The show is a little risqué,” Paige admitted. “It pushes boundaries. It goes against the societal narrative that women should feel ashamed of their biology, their sexuality, their intelligence, and it reclaims our bodies, words and experiences.”
Libby Hays, a member of APO and the director of JSU’s production of “The Vagina Monologues,” believes the show’s unashamed approach to women’s issues that makes it appealing to audiences.
“This show takes [issues] and brings them into the light to say, ‘Hey ladies! You’re not alone! It bothers me too!’” Hays said. “And it does so in a wonderful combination of ways. Some [monologues] are absolutely hilarious; some are filled with sass and spunk, and a few even tug at your heart strings.”
V-Day JSU is a local effort within the worldwide campaign. The production performance is presented as a part of the V-Day campaign, a movement started by Ensler in 1998. The V-Day movement has raised over $120 million and funded over 13,000 safe homes.
One BillionRising is an offshoot of the V-Day campaign. The global initiative began in 2012 as a call to action to empower women survivors and demand an end to violence.
“The hardest topics are the taboo ones,” Hays said. “That means they’re hardly talked about because things might get awkward in some way or another. People are struggling with these difficult issues on their own. There’s absolutely no reason for that. Silence is detrimental.”
Of the seven billion people on the planet, one billion are girls and women. One in three of these women will be beaten or sexually abused in their lifetime. That is one reason why participants think it’s an important show to do.
“I think that every woman on campus can relate to something in this play,” said Bethany Hunt, a junior broadcast major and one of the actresses. “I think that it’s important to talk about the themes discussed in the play all the time. And not just on stage. Hopefully this gets some conversations started.”
Originally, performing “The Vagina Monologues” was just the idea of APO. In the last year, though, it has become an event of its own with participants from departments across campus.
“We’re the theatre honor society,” Hays said of APO, “and part of being involved in theatre is shaping a message we feel needs to be heard into a form people will be more susceptible to understanding. This is what we do; it’s our ambition in life. This show has so much passion, that the smallest organization can make a loud noise with it.”
Even though the show is traditionally all-female, Hays encourages people of all genders and sexual orientations to come out and see the show.
“This show isn’t just for the ladies!” Hays said. “It’s just as important for guys to understand the topics we struggle with as well. While it is geared more towards a female audience, gentlemen will absolutely still be entertained!”
“The Vagina Monologues” will be performed at JSU’s Ernest Stone Center Studio Theatre, Room 338 at 7:00 p.m. on February 23 and 24.
Tickets are $10 for the public and $5 for students. Tickets may be purchased at the door or in the TMB lobby from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays. T-shirts will also be sold and can be pre-ordered in the TMB or at the event.