The Vagina Monologues bring feminist theatre back to Washburn

Ali Dade

Feb. 2nd through the 4th, saw the return of “The Vagina Monologues” to Washburn’s Neese Gray Theater.

This year’s production of the feminist play was sponsored by Washburn student organizations STAND and V-Day. All proceeds made from ticket sales of the show went to fund, Stop Trafficking And Resist Slavery (STARS). STARS aims to end human trafficking.

“The Vagina Monologues” is an episodic play written in 1996 by Eve Ensler. There are three narrators present in the show that guide the audience through the multi-level monologues that cover a variety of issues from vaginas and their hair, to a transgender woman’s telling of her relationship with her vagina, to the sharing of stories of sexual assault and sexual liberations.

These monologues were presented by eight different women with varying appearances, backgrounds, ages and ethnicities.

Washburn’s production of “The Vagina Monologues” was nothing short of extraordinary. The topics covered in the monologues were so varying, they caused the audience to laugh one minute and cry the next.

Even though this is not a new show to Washburn’s campus, there was still much excitement for the event from the audience, cast and crew alike.

Corey Perkins is a senior theatre and English double major who helped with Washburn’s 2015 production of The Vagina Monologues and saw this year’s production on opening night.

“The Vagina Monologues is definitely important, because in America, a lot of sexual education and awareness about how the body works, whether you’re male or female is starting to go away, said Perkins. “It’s kind of seen as a taboo or a private thing… So The Vagina Monologues is important because it brings to life a lot of problems that women have had forever, and it presents it in a way that it’s entertaining, but you still learn.”

One of the cast members of the show was Vanessa Nunez, Washburn alumna who graduated in the Fall of 2016 with a degree in mass media. After the Thursday showing, Nunez spoke about the political importance of a show like this.

“[The Vagina Monologues] is especially important right now with what’s going on in our political climate. We’re trying to fight back for some rights that are being taken away, and so The Vagina Monologues is a great way to put women out there and [say], ‘We are here and we are not going down without a fight’,” said Nunez.

On the Friday, Feb. 3rd production of the show, the 2017 Women in Leadership forum was held afterwards in which the Washburn Leadership Institute, Washburn University Players and STAND spoke about key women in Washburn and Topeka that showed great leadership as well as speaking on the overall role of leadership, gender, equality and success.

Marissa Meis, a senior mass media and theatre double major, was the director of The Vagina Monologues.

Meis spoke about the role that these monologues play in society: “It’s definitely important because it’s such a unique show and it touches on points that are usually taboo in normal society. So this gives it a place, and gives it a home, where you’re actually encouraged to talk about it… These are stories that need to be told. And this is a safe place to really react, and come together, and have some solidarity and ownership.”

The excitement and positivity that this play has produced at Washburn regarding gender equality is evident through the support it has gathered, and we hope the spread of this message through the showings of The Vagina Monologues, is a tradition that Washburn continues for years to come.