Story and audio by Matt Bird
February and March of any year have two things in common at Durham College: cold weather, Valentine’s Day and, of course, a visit from the Vagina Monologues. The enduring classic of the world’s nether regions will be playing on March 11th and 12th.
“The Vagina Monologues is essentially women saying stories about vaginas,” said Barb Bryan, the Women’s Centre’s coordinator and one of the show’s organizers. “But not just vaginas; also their experiences as women. Vagina is the theme that ties them all together. These stories are often quite funny, but there’s also parts that raise awareness for abuse. There’s definitely some sad stories.”
All of the proceeds will go towards V-Day, a worldwide movement operating from February to April that collects money for anti-violence campaigns. The movement was founded by Eve Ensler, who compiled the original monologues. To hear more about the history of V-Day and the Vagina Monologues, listen to the accompanying voice clip.
Unlike most stage productions the Vagina Monologues doesn’t seek out professional actresses. The Women’s Centre even prefers not to hold extensive try outs, and gives every woman who wants to speak a shot on stage – and without having memorized their stories.
“The V-Day organization prefers the college and university actresses not to have memorized it,” said Bryan. “In a way what we are doing is honouring the women whose stories these actually are. If we memorize it we make it ours and we take away that honouring.”
The college’s performance so far includes an all-female cast, though men have had roles in the past. Check the audio clip below to find out how men were included.
The show isn’t alone in collecting money for V-Day on campus. “We have a bake sale on February 12th, so it’s the perfect time to buy a sweet for your sweetheart,” said Bryan.“
“We also have an information session on February 24th about the Democratic Republic of Congo where the money from the V-Day organization is going. They’ll be sponsoring the City of Joy, a transitional house where women can rest and heal after they’ve had surgery done from repairing fistula.”
Tickets will cost $7 for students and $10 for everyone else. For more information on the Monologues you can contact Bryan at 905-721-2000, extension 2315. More information on V-Day in general is available on their website.