Assist. Arts & Culture Editor
“The Vagina Monologues” are simultaneously exactly what they sound like, and yet nothing like one might expect. Presented by Citamard and CSIL, and directed by Nicole Weerbrouck, this year’s “Vagina Monologues” were quite a force to be reckoned with.
Even Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues” began with the monologue called “Introduction,” featuring Nicole Rodriguez, Maria DeFelice, Jessica Subers, and Rebecca Minnich. The girls stepped out onto the stage, dressed exclusively in red and black, and began to discuss vaginas, and break down the awkwardness and tension that was palpable in the audience.
As the show continued, the members of the audience, men and women, young and old, became more and more engaged, and less and less reserved. Laughter rang during the funny parts, and a suspenseful silence enveloped the auditorium during the discussion of serious topics.
“Hair” was the second monologue to be performed, with an introduction by either Emily Cohen or Maria DeFelice, and a very powerful monologue from Michelle Perez.
The next monologue, “The ‘Wear and Say’ Lists,” was a bit of comic relief, regaling the audience with the answers women gave in interviews to questions like, “If your vagina could talk, what would it say?” or “What would your vagina wear?” Jessica Subers, Brittney Serra, and Toni-Ann Stewart had the audience in stitches with not only the words they were saying, but also the mannerisms with which these questions were answered.
“The Flood” was the third monologue of the show and featured either Nicole Rodriquez or Aisling Burns as the narrator, and Jen Trewhella as the speaker, sharing the sexual endeavors of an old woman.
Dr. Karen Rice performed next, with “The Vagina Workshop,” followed by a “Vagina Happy Fact,” presented by Rebecca Minnich.
The next monologue told the story of one woman’s awakening and self-love that was born from a man who made her realize her true beauty. Aisling Burns performed the monologue, “Because He Liked to Look At It,” which Emily Cohen introduced. This was followed by a “Not-So-Happy Fact” presented by Jen Trewella which told of the horrors of female circumcision.
Alex DeBiasi came onto the stage next to perform “My Angry Vagina,” which brushed upon the polarity in male and female sexual taboos in such a way that those who were there watching couldn’t decide whether to laugh or to gasp in shock.
Rebecca Minnich introduced the next monologue which featured five different speakers; Brighid Mento, Jan Bechtel/Rebecca Minnich, Corissa Brown, Jessica Subers, and Alison Sehl were all different voices during the monologue, “They Beat the Girl Out of My Boy.” This monologue discussed the heartbreaking hardships that transgender individuals are often forced to endure.
“My Vagina Was My Village,” introduced by Aisling Burns and Toni-Ann Stewart, was told through Brittney Serra and Emily Cohen. It told the story of Bosnian women refugees who were interviewed during the war in Yugoslavia. Twenty to seventy-thousand women were raped as a war tactic. This monologue told their story.
Dr. Rita Smith Wade-El took the stage next, following an introduction by Emily Cohen, to perform “The Little Coochie Snorcher That Could.” Dr. Smith Wade-El tells the story of a young woman discovering her homosexuality, and the obstacles she was had to overcome to truly be who she was.
Maria DeFelice and Rebecca Minnich introduced the monologue that was performed by Cecelia Ziman-Destefano, called “Reclaiming Cunt.” It talked about women turning the “C-Word” from an insult into a moniker to wear like a badge of honor.
Toni-Ann Stewart interviewed Jessica Subers in the next monologue, called “A six-year-old girl was asked…” This monologue asks the same questions as were asked in the introduction (“What would your vagina wear?” etc.), but directs them towards a six-year-old. The answers given are so pure and honest of a response that the audience can’t help but become endeared by her innocence.
The next monologue was a rather risqué one, focusing on the monologue performed by Karissa Montaner, as “The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy.” Introduced by Alison Sehl, it tells the story of a woman who discovered her passion for making other women satisfied, and helping them to become more open and honest with themselves.
“I Was There in the Room,” introduced by Nicole Rodriguez and Rebecca Minnich was performed by Dr. Kat Walsh, and relived the first time she witnessed childbirth and the miracle of life.
Christine Furey took the stage next to perform “We Were Jumping.” The dream of a woman who finally forgives her father for his sexual abuse is shared, which is heartbreaking enough on its own. But Furey made the audience truly feel and believe the story, rendering it all that much more painful.
“The Vagina Monologues” ended with a monologue performed by the whole cast, called “One Billion Rising.” It featured Brigh Mento, Jen Trewella, Cecelia Ziman-Destefano, Emily Cohen, Alex DeBiasi, Rita Smith Wade-El, and Christine Furey, and left the audience with a call to action: do not take sexual discrimination sitting down. Stand for the women who cannot stand for themselves, and stand up for yourself. The powerful ending brought the audience to its feet with shouts of admiration and a drive to become proactive.
“The Vagina Monologues 2014” was possible with thanks to Director Nicole Weerbrouck, Stage Manager Tatiana Urusow, Assistant Stage Manager Michael Stewart, and Josh Dorsheimer who ran lights and sound.