Vagina. It’s a word you don’t hear casually thrown around in everyday conversation. But what if it was? On Friday, Feb. 9 and Saturday, Feb. 10, Keene State College put on it’s annual production of Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues.
While the title itself could be misleading, the play is not about talking vaginas. The monologues instead focus on the women who are giving them.
From comical stories about discovering yourself “down there,” to more serious ones about harassment in the workplace, the monologues showcase the joys as well as struggles of being a women.
When dealing with a topic which has become so prominent, especially with the rise of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, it was critical for both the actresses and the directors to do the subject justice. Senior and director Alyson Lear explained the work that went into creating the production.
“We have been rehearsing since we got back from break, and we had auditions before break. It has been a labor of love, but it has been very worth it,” Lear said.
The cast rehearsed for four weekends, three times a weekend. Despite the time commitment, the actresses were happy to take part in the show. Katrina Feraco, who graduated from the college in December, has been part of the production for two years.
Growing up, Feraco’s father had been on the board at Bridges, the domestic violence support center in Nashua and Milford, New Hampshire, which is how she originally heard about the Vagina Monologues.
“He had always talked about ‘Oh the [Bridges] do the vagina monologues as a fundraiser every year,’” Feraco explained. When she found out that KSC did its own production, Feraco auditioned. “I did it because I know how important MCVP [Monadnock Center for Violence Prevention] is to the Monadnock area. They deserve all the funding and support they can get from the community, and if me getting up there telling other women’s stories [raises awareness], then I’ll do it,” Feraco said.
In addition to raising awareness for sexual violence, Lear wanted to eliminate some of the stigma that surrounds the vagina. “I think we need to be able to talk about vagina’s more,” Lear expressed. “Just the word alone is taboo and I think that itself is a reason to be getting on stage and screaming about it.”
Agreeing with Lear, assistant director Dakota Umbro added, “We [women] have to empower each other.”
Senior women and gender studies major Emma Simpson attended the show and expressed her enjoyment of the performance as well as the importance of it. “I think it’s really wonderful to come and listen to women’s stories,” Simpson said.
Simpson also added her positive feedback of this year’s production, and said specifically, “It was wonderful. It always is, but I felt like this year in particular was really great.”
The Vagina Monologues delivered an important message of female empowerment that Lear hoped audience members took away for the show.
Lear said, “There’s no shame in bodies and living life with whatever body you have. Embrace it and own it.”
Erin McNemar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org