'Vagina Monologues' cast performs to 1,700

The tenth annual show drew its largest crowd ever.
Freshman Jessica Bremehr performs a monologue called "The Flood" as a part of the Women's Center's 10th annual performance of "The Vagina Monologues" on Saturday night in Jesse Auditorium. The Vagina Monologues is produced to raise awareness of the V-Day campaign, an organization that seeks to end violence toward women.

Women and men alike gathered Saturday in Jesse Auditorium to pay tribute to the one thing they all love: vaginas.

Sponsored by Stronger Together Against Relationship and Sexual Violence and advised by the Women’s Center, Saturday’s performance of “The Vagina Monologues” is part of the college campaign of the larger V-Day worldwide movement, aimed to stop violence against women and girls.

“This is just one step toward ending violence,” Women’ s Center adviser Suzy Day said.

The performance benefited the Truth North Shelter, the L.E.A.D. Institute and the MU Stop the Violence Fund, all which support victims and survivors of violence. Playwright Eve Ensler penned the monologues in 1998 after she conducted hundreds of interviews with women, spanning different cultures, ages and countries.

“You’ll notice this doesn’t look like your typical production,” adviser Struby Struble said. “All of the monologuers carry their scripts with them. That is in honor of the women. We’re telling the true stories of women.”

Up from last year’s 73 performers, 79 performers and 3 advisers participated in the movement. Because of the countless hours they spent preparing for the show, Day said the end result was nothing less than a “ Vagina Monologues family.”

“Every year, the women talk about how they meet all of these women they never would have met,” Day said. “They never would have crossed paths in any other way on campus. I was Greek, so I always think of it like the ‘Vagina sorority.’"

The women waltzed across the stage dressed in black and red, relaying Ensler’s words. Some of the stories had the audience screaming with laughter (and oftentimes screaming “Vagina!” as well); others made the audience cringe with discomfort.

“Well, my vagina’s not going away,” the cast said in “My Angry Vagina.” “It’s pissed off and it’ s staying right here.”

Some of the acts were more serious, tackling issues such as rape in Haiti and the public’s disdain for some women’s clothing choices.

“My short skirt is not begging for it,” freshman Frankie Pelusi said in “ My Short Skirt.” “It does not want you to rip it off me or pull it down. My short skirt is not a legal reason for raping me.”

Small revisions were made to the original script to better reflect Saturday’s audience, and it responded accordingly – such as when junior Carmen Adkins moaned the school song, or when graduate student Kimmy Fleming name-dropped an MU tradition.

“If you go to Mizzou, you might call it your Tiger’s Lair,” Fleming said, in reference to her vagina.

Day said Jesse Auditorium was about 50 attendees short of being sold-out, which would equate to about a 1,700-person audience. This is the women’s largest audience in its 10 years of performing at MU.

“Every year, I’m just amazed at how fabulous it goes,” Day said. “The fact that a bunch of women who don’t know each other come together and organize and produce this is just, wow. We’re not out of the theatre department or anything – we just work really hard.”

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