I’ll show you mine if you show me yours

Naureen Shah

One year ago, the crowd was insane. About 200 people were unable to get into the Louis Room. All they wanted was to see Vagina.

“The Vagina Monologues,” that is.

That’s not going to be a problem for this year’s production of the play, because it is being performed at the 1,000+ seat Pick-Staiger Concert Hall.

The size has changed, but the meaning of the show has not.

“So much of female sexuality and the female psyche is based around (the vagina) – from rape to tampons, from menstruation and childbirth to sex,” said Speech senior and director Noreen Khalid.

The play, written by Eve Ensler and first performed in 1996, is based on her interviews with more than 200 women. Women’s Coalition’s Friday production at Pick-Staiger is part of a national college campus campaign called V-Day and includes the stories of black, lesbian, Hispanic and elderly women.

“We cover a broad spectrum of women’s experiences because that was one of our goals,” said Speech junior Tatiana Schnurr, who performs a monologue called “Short Skirt” about how women’s fashion choices are used to justify their exploitation.

The nine monologues employ both poetic and literal language to engage the audience with realistic portrayals, said Speech senior Nicole Steinwedell.

Steinwedell and two other narrators perform the piece “Under the Burqa,” which is about Afghani women who were forced to wear burqas during Taliban rule.

“Educated women are perhaps the world’s smallest minority,” said Khalid. “‘Under the Burqa’ is our last monologue because we want to show that (NU students) are really lucky to be part of this elite group and that we should take advantage of that.”

Proceeds from the production, now in its third year at NU, will go to charities such as the Radical Afghan Women’s Association.

The monologues are only one part of V-Day, which promotes the international movement to end violence against women. According to Vday.org, more than 800 V-Day events will occur globally this year.

“For a lot of women, hearing about the experiences of others is key,” said Speech sophomore Kim Farber. “These monologues show you that what you’re feeling is okay.”

The monologues also address male insecurities, said Steinwedell.

“This play is not a feminist statement. Men will appreciate it because they share a world with women,” she said.

Some monologues in the one-and-a-half-hour play focus on the acceptance of women’s sexuality.

“The word ‘cunt’ is a word I generally cannot say,” said narrator and Speech sophomore Jennifer Snowden. “Even in our generation, people haven’t accepted ‘vagina’ as non-taboo.”

Despite the constant repetition of “vagina,” the purpose of the play isn’t to desensitize the audience to the word.

“This is about being a woman and what you go through when you are a woman,” said Weinberg senior Nancy Randall. Randall’s monologue emphasizes the experience of childbirth for the mother instead of the newborn.

Other monologues tackle controversial issues such as rape and touchy topics such as pubic hair. For the second consecutive year, Music junior Colette Gregory performs “The Little Kuchi Snorcher Who Could,” a monologue about a black lesbian woman who is homeless.

“Because of the taboos about homosexuality in the black community, this monologue is really controversial,” said Khalid.

Pick-Staiger’s balcony will be symbolically draped with red fabric for the show.

“Our goal is to reach more people with our message that female sexuality is a positive thing,” she said. “Empowered women are amazing women and everyone should want to be them – even men.” nyou