The Chandler Recital Hall welcomed the ladies of the Women Center as they braved the stage this Valentine’s Day weekend for the presentation of “The Vagina Monologues: Honoring the Stories of Women.”
This annual benefit production, co-sponsored by Housing and Resident Life and ODU VOX, premiered Feb. 14 and Feb. 15 at 7 p.m., and Feb. 16 at 2 p.m.
The play celebrated women’s sexuality and strength by weaving together grace, courage, and wit depicted in 15 unique and powerful monologues. Old Dominion undergraduate and graduate students, who performed the play, took the audience for a rollercoaster ride of emotions influenced by the stories of women worldwide.
The award-winning play was written in 1996 by Eve Ensler, founder of V-Day, a global activist organization that increases the awareness of sexual violence towards women and girls. Ensler based the play on real interviews she had with over 200 women of all ages, races, and ethnic identities.
This award-winning play, however, is no stranger to ODU.
“This is the third year [the play has been running],” Joann Bautti, assistant director of the Women’s Center, said. “I brought it back in 2012, and before then it had been seven years since we had it [“The Vagina Monologues”].”
Alongside Bautti, the play was co-directed by Saige Hill, empowerment and activism Intern.
One student performer, sophomore mass communications major Timaiah Smith, speaks about how she prepared for this play.
“You have to keep in mind that you’re doing this for so many women who have been through so much. Be the advocate for those women and just keep them in mind. I feel like that really helps me stay positive and go out there and put on a good show,” Smith said.
Symone Mercado, a graduate student in the humanities department with an emphasis on women’s studies, explained what “The Vagina Monologues” means.
“It really is about encompassing womens’ story. It really is showing through a humorous and serious way of saying what feminism means to women and their experiences. You can talk about things from hair, you can talk about things from…what the vagina is like for women…it can get angry, it can be sad, it can be tortured and those are all important things in the journey of a woman,” she said.
“Every woman is different, and its not just the vagina, it doesn’t have to be a sexual term, it can be a word of endearment and power because it really does mean that hey, I am woman, and I’m here, hear me roar,” Mercado added.
“The Vagina Monologues” is just one of the many female empowering productions and programs the Women’s Center puts on. Others include Luna Fest, Walk A Mile In Her Shoes, Women’s History Month, and the Feminist Activist Fair.
“March is Women’s History Month and April is Sexual Assault Awareness month so we always have a ton of programs during those two months,” Bautti said.
All proceeds collected from “The Vagina Monologues” will support V-Day’s Spotlight Campaign and Response Sexual Assault Support Services of the YWCA.
By Veronica Singer