Vagina Monologues light up Power Center

BY CAITLIN KLEIBOER AND AMANDA ANDRADE


Published February 21, 2006

LSA sophomore Connie Chang stood on a dimly lit stage Sunday night and defiantly proclaimed to the packed Power Center audience, "My vagina's angry!"

Jess Cox
LSA junior Mutiyat Ade-Salu performs in "The Vagina Monologues" at the Power Center on Sunday. (CAITLIN KLEIBOER/Daily)

Angry or not, vaginas were feeling the love this weekend at the annual celebration of V-Day - a holiday created by playwright Eve Ensler in 1998 to protest violence against women - which was topped off by two performances of "The Vagina Monologues," one at 2 p.m. and another at 7:30 p.m.

The monologues, a staple at the Power Center every Valentine's Day weekend, are composed of brief scenes all dealing with women speaking proudly and candidly. Ensler based the influential play on interviews she conducted with subjects ranging from a six-year-old girl discussing the wardrobe preferences of her vagina to a 72-year-old woman disclosing her wet dreams about Burt Reynolds.

Plagued by controversy over the producers' decision to instate an "all-color" cast - one composed entirely of women of color - the production nonetheless saw an enthusiastic turnout.

The debate surrounding the casting decision sparked great interest within the community. But white women were not excluded.

Engineering sophomore Chelsea Haughn, although white, stated in her bio that she was indeed a woman of color. The color: pink.

"Pink is a delicate color. I am soft and shy and delicate," Haughn wrote, "But pink can also be strong and powerful."

Haughn was one of three women to introduce the production in an appropriately bold and unabashedly graphic discussion of the problem facing women today: finding their vaginas.

The dilemma was picked up again in "The Vagina Workshop." LSA junior Jillian Walker recited a monologue from the perspective of a shy woman attending a workshop to help her locate the elusive organ.

Lying on a mat, she and her fellow vagina hunters learned to reject societal taboos in order to discover happiness in their own bodies.

Ultimately, the "Monologues" - sometimes decried for indecency and lewdness - are about teaching women to be comfortable in the bodies that so many are ashamed to talk about.

Perhaps the perennial audience favorite, "My Angry Vagina," received a particularly wonderful, brash and fiery performance from Chang. Screaming at the audience, and surrounded by signs emblazoned with such mantras as "Lubricate or Die," Chang held the audience in hysterics with her frank and shockingly honest demands for vagina rights.

But V-Day is about more than just comedy.

In the poignant and emotionally devastating "Crooked Braid," a group of woman related stories of their mistreatment at the hands of their male partners on an Indian reservation.

And perhaps it is this trend of continuing violence against women that, more than anything else, makes "The Vagina Monologues" timely and essential. V-Day, which stands for Vagina, Violence and Valentine's, asserts that women should be revered and adored - and that until violence against women becomes an anachronism, vaginas will continue to scream their anger.