Violence, victims dramatized in Rant, Prayer

The Knightspot was packed this weekend for the Womyn's Action Coalition's premiere production of A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant, and a Prayer - a collection of stories about violence against women by the author of the award-winning Vagina Monologues, Eve Ensler.

Directed by senior Dana LePage with senior Alex Egan as assistant director, the show covered a range of themes and situations and was ultimately an undeniable success among the audience of Geneseo students, faculty and community members.

WAC promoted its campaign for an end to violence against women with show programs that featured several pages of statistics about rape and assault against women and tips on how to handle such situations. The pamphlet also contained a special section promoting V-Day, which it described as "a global movement to end violence against women and girls."

One of the first monologues of the evening was entitled "Blueberry Hill" and was performed by sophomore Chantel Helbig. Helbig portrayed a young high-school girl recounting the terror of a near-gang rape experience and the epiphany it gave her about the importance of always seeing the true immeasurable value of herself as a woman and a human being. Helbig's acting was convincing and intense, evoking the rage, sadness and sympathy of the audience throughout "Blueberry Hill."

Another memorable monologue was "Groceries," featuring junior Shazia Sohrawardy. Sohrawardy portrayed a woman raped by her neighbor who was helping her carry her groceries up to her apartment one night. "Groceries" was an unforgettable display of the unfortunate and senseless violence that occurs against women every day in America and the irreparable consequences it can have on individuals like the heroine of this monologue.

One of the last monologues, called "In Memory of Imette," was performed by senior Meaghan Colligan. The title referred to Imette St. Guillen, a graduate student at John Jay College who was raped and murdered in 2005 and to whom WAC's entire production was dedicated. Colligan's character was a student who had heard of St. Guillen's death and was determined not to let it happen to her.

That skit presented its serious subject matter in a more humorous light than its predecessors, often making light of Colligan's character's admitted paranoia. Its attempts at jokes ultimately made it one of the more entertaining pieces of the show.

Overall, A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant, and a Prayer was a very enlightening and well-received production on the part of WAC. Unlike their previous annual show, however, The Vagina Monologues, it relied less on dark humor and more on tragic intensity, making it less entertaining, though just as poignant.