“The Vagina Monologues” educates and entertains with tough topics

"The Vagina Monologues" is "not a vagina puppet talking on stage, just to be clear," explained the director of the upcoming show, sophomore Rachel Tamarin.

While the performance will not include animated genitalia, there will be women, and they will be talking about vaginas.

Eve Ensler's immensely popular play will be performed three times this weekend. The performances were organized by the Womyn's Action Coalition in support of V-Day, an international not-for-profit organization that seeks to end violence against women. Created by Ensler, the "V" in V-Day stands for Victory, Valentine and Vagina.

The proceeds from this weekend's performances will be donated to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, the largest anti-sexual assault organization in the U.S.

Ensler originally wrote and performed all of the monologues in the show herself; she was inspired by the conversations she had with women regarding their stories about relationships, sexuality and violence.

Since its premiere in 1996, "The Vagina Monologues" has grown from a creative movement celebrating feminine sexuality and empowerment into a global measure advocating an end to violence against women through education. College campuses and other volunteer organizations hold annual benefit performances of "Monologues" to support V-Day's mission.

Each year, the show incorporates a new monologue highlighting a specific issue in women's rights. This year's new monologue was written in memory of Myriam Merlet, a close friend of Ensler who brought V-Day to Haiti before dying in the 2010 earthquake.

This year's performance will also include a monologue called "Say It" that draws attention to the virtually unheard suffering of hundreds of thousands of women and young girls abused as sex slaves in Japan during World War II.

"Part of what drew me to this specific monologue was the fact that so few people knew anything about it," Tamarin said.

Though "Monologues" will mark Tamarin's third directing experience at Geneseo, she said that nothing compares to directing a show as intimate and as provocative as this one. "The Vagina Monologues" deals with things that we're not comfortable talking about but that should be talked about much more," she said.

Tamarin decided to become involved with the production after seeing the play performed last year. She and assistant director Brittney Walker, a senior and the president of WAC, worked together to organize the entire production comprised of only students. The hard work, however, has not bothered the cast members; on the contrary, everyone involved has wholeheartedly embraced the cause.

"If I can help spread the word of the vagina, I will," Katie Nottke said, a junior who has acted in the show every year since she was a freshman.

"I was skeptical at first but once I read it, I realized that "The Vagina Monologues" isn't about just sex," said freshman Fiona Connors. "It's about all of the different stories behind each woman's vagina."

"College is supposed to be a time where you try new things. The [role] scared me at first but if I can do this, I can do anything," said freshman Lexi Hannah of her particularly scandalous monologue.

"The Vagina Monologues" will be performed from Thursday, Feb. 10 through Saturday, Feb. 12 at the KnightSpot. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets will be sold in the Union all week: $5 for students, $6 for faculty and $7 for the public. WAC will also be selling T-shirts and chocolate vagina lollipops before and after the show.