MU students to give voice to women’s issues in ‘Vagina Monologues’

This is the first year in which there will be multiple performances of the monologues.
A student performs a poem at The Womanhood Collective event Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015, at The Shack in the MU Student Center, Columbia, Mo. The night of performance was held to benefit the MU Vagina Monologues.

A spotlight will beam down on junior Adrienne Donica as she stands before the audience in the Missouri Theatre.

She will approach the microphone, holding a piece of paper. Along with her castmates, Donica will open her mouth and spout a rapid-fire, comprehensive list of different slang terms for vaginas.

It’s not about getting a rise out of people and, as far as Donica is concerned, it is a far cry from a feminist extreme. Rather, the moments Donica spends on stage will serve as her opportunity to inspire awareness about women’s issues going on in the community and on the global scene.

Donica is just one of 140 MU women who will take the stage Saturday for The Vagina Monologues. Performances will be at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

The women are adapting Eve Ensler’s “Vagina Monologues” in an effort to raise awareness about issues facing the female community, such as oppression and sexual violence. Some of the monologues will contain acting, but others will simply be read.

Tickets are $12 before Saturday at the MSA/GPC Box Office in the MU Student Center, and $15 at the door. The event serves as a fundraiser for Columbia-based organizations, such as True North and The L.E.A.D. Institute, that exist to aid women facing domestic and sexual violence. The MU-based Stop Traffic Columbia will also benefit from the Vagina Monologues, as will individuals who receive personally tailored support through a survivors fund set up on campus. This will be the first year that the Vagina Monologues will be performed twice at MU. Donica said two performances will help expand the reach of the play.

“Two shows this year is a really cool change,” she said. “It just means that we have that much more exposure within the community and have the ability to raise that much more money.”

Donica said she hopes her performance in the Vagina Monologues will be an educational tool and catalyst for change within the Columbia community and onward, hopefully.

“Even through all the serious moments, I do think people leave the show feeling very aware about new things but also empowered,” Donica said.

Junior Shelby Fullerton said MU’s performance of the Vagina Monologues is just one in a series of international monologues meant to end violence against women.

“Different women put on monologues at universities and communities and cities to try to spread the word about the empowerment of women and also the violence that many women have faced,” she said.

As a first-time performer, Fullerton will be perform the monologue entitled “Crooked Braid” that speaks to issues of oppression faced by women in Native American communities.

Donica will be taking to the stage for the second year. She said she enjoys being part of a production that influenced her so profoundly when she saw it performed during her freshmen year.

“I went freshman year, actually by myself, and just had the greatest time,” Donica said. “It’s such a great show. It’s just very emotional and funny. I just really left it feeling so empowered, and so I knew I had to do it the next year.”

Now two years later, Donica, along with many of her castmates, has spent multiple hours every Sunday since November preparing the monologues, understanding identities outside of herself and becoming educated on women’s issues in order to ensure an impactful performance.

Fullerton said the monologues reflect a variety of themes and women’s issues. She said the Vagina Monologues exist not to offend but rather to point out societal issues and call for change.

“A lot of people hear ‘Vagina Monologues’ and think it’s just a bunch of radical feminists, but it’s not that at all,” Fullerton said.

Rather, she said she believes the event has the ability to impact a variety of audience members.

“I hope (audiences take away) that female empowerment and feminism are very important and the fight to end the violence is not over,” Fullerton said. “This is something that affects everyone, not just women, and it’s very important. I just think people should try to go into it with an open mind.”

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