Monologues raise women’s awareness

Meredith Compton

The cast of “The Vagina Monologues” performs “Say It” Saturday at the Kiva. The skit was performed in honor of the “comfort women,” young females who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese troops during the Asia/Pacific Wars. The production, pre

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

A group of Kent State students ended its production of “The Vagina Monologues” Saturday. Phi Gamma Pi Sorority, the Women’s Resource Center and the Kent State Feminist Union presented the production to celebrate Women’s History Month.

“We were worried about vaginas,” is the quote that opened “The Vagina Monologues.” The production is based on interviews of over 200 women and covers topics such as rape, marital issues, and the wonder of childbirth.

The performances were done through, an international movement to prevent and raise awareness of violence and abuse toward women.

Kent State’s production featured 13 actors who worked for over a month to prepare for the performances. Auditions were held in January, and rehearsals, organization and finding sponsors took place during February.

The play features 18 monologues, most of which focus on embarrassing or sensitive topics, including menstruation, masturbation and rape. Director Sarah Collins, senior political science major, believes that these are great topics to present to a college audience.

“I want people to really see that it’s okay to admit that this sort of thing happens in life, and it’s not anyone’s fault,” Collins said. “Once you’ve broken yourself open to communication, you can start talking about it and change how you see things.”

Collins sees this communication as one of the main themes of the play.

“You can learn so much through communication,” Collins said. “You can find out so much about people and get a new perspective.”

Though many of the topics can be thought of as too risqu‚ for many audiences, Collins said that people are more open in Kent, and therefore more receptive to the play’s message.

John Barham, house manager for the Kent production and senior applied conflict management major, said the production was a great opportunity for students to learn.

“It’s important that students expand their horizons,” Barham said.

When people are jostled out of their comfort zones, they are more open to see the truth behind issues, he said.

One issue the audience learned about through the production was VDay’s spotlight 2006 cause, the “comfort women” of Japan.

These women were forced into sexual slavery by Japanese troops during the Asia/Pacific Wars between 1932 and 1945 and are still searching for an official apology and compensation from the Japanese government, according to VDay’s Web site.

One of the monologues focused on the story of the “comfort women.” The monologue is titled “Say It” and featured the entire cast recounting the different terrors that the “comfort women” endured. It ends with one of the cast members saying simply: “Say it. Sorry.”

Half of the profits raised from ticket sales went to VDay’s international beneficiary in order to help the efforts to gain an apology for the “comfort women.” The other half went to Sojourner House, a local women’s center where battered women can go to recover and get back on their feet.

Collins said if students missed the performances, they missed out on access to a lot of information. She stressed that the current statistic is that 1 in 4 women will experience some sort of sexual violence, so if it doesn’t affect you, it will affect someone you know.

Contact performing arts reporter Meredith Compton at [email protected].