FAN stages 'Vagina Monologues'

Posted by Tegan O'Neill

From Feb. 25 to Feb. 27 was flooded with emotion as 11 women performing in "The Vagina Monologues" spilled their hearts and souls into their roles and spoke out about sex, masturbation, orgasm, birth and rape.

The Feminist Action Network, otherwise known as FAN, staged three performances of Eve Ensler's episodic play to raise money for the Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Services of Saratoga County.

Of the proceeds raised, 10 percent will go to a charity chosen by the V-Day movement's Spotlight Campaign. V-Day is a global activist movement for the stopping of violence against women and girls.

This year, funds will go to the Women and Girls of Haiti to help ensure safety for women left in post-earthquake Haiti and to establish three safe houses for survivors of violence.

V-Season lasts from Feb. 1 to April 30 during which "The Vagina Monologues" is staged across the world to celebrate the female body and raise awareness about violence against women.

Eve Ensler wrote the monologues in 1994 after conducting 200 interviews with women about such topics as sex and relationships.

Ensler gives out the rights to the show with the expectations and hopes that all of the proceeds will be donated to causes serving the empower of women.

It started out as a celebration of the female body, but has since taken on a much larger role.

"It has become more of a movement than a play," said Grady Shea '13, who directed the most recent performance.

Although Ensler mandates that all those cast in the show be female, there are no stipulations about the sex of the director.

Shea was chosen by the FAN to direct the play. He noted that from this experience he has learned a great deal about himself, "as an artist, a man and a human being."

Ensler encourages both males and females to support the show. "You can be male or female to be a feminist," Shea explained.

Eliza Straim '11 and Sarah Elwell '11, co-presidents of FAN, produced the show. "I was in the show my sophomore year and I have loved it ever since," Elwell said.

The annual nature of the show makes it possible for students to attend each year and see how different women bring their own flair to the monologues.

"Older Skidmore students can see how it has changed over the years," Elwell explained.

For Straim, it was the connection between the audience and the performers that made "The Vagina Monologues" special.

"There is an incredible sense of community during the show. Everyone present is bonded in that moment," Straim said.

To heighten this sense of community, the chairs in Falstaff's were arranged in a configuration that had audience members facing each other so that they could direct their attention toward multiple spotlights throughout the show. Throughout the performance, the actresses weaved in between rows of the audience.

The effect was appropriately intimate for the issues raised by "The Vagina Monologues." The monologues are provocative and raise issues that are usually ignored or generally deemed unsuitable for everyday conversation.

Issues were varied and included social and political topics like rape in war-torn countries, the varying decibel levels of female orgasm and the ridiculousness of thong underwear.

"It is a wonderful production and an important one to put on," Shea said.

The monologues elicited emotional responses that ranged from hilarious to heart-wrenching. All were delivered with incredible passion and power.

For more information about "The Vagina Monologues" and the V-Day movement, visit www.vday.org.

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