Audiences will soon be able to hear funny, dramatic and inspiring monologues about female experiences.
The Vagina Monologues will be performed at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday at Baker Center Theater.
The Athens performance of the Vagina Monologues combines monologues from the original play by Eve Ensler with a few additional pieces to give audiences a more accurate depiction of the struggles faced by people who identify as female.
If You Go
What: The Vagina Monologues
When: 2 p.m. & 7 p.m., Saturday and 2 p.m., Sunday
Where: Baker Center Theater
Ellenore Holbrook, co-director of the Vagina Monologues, said many fans of the show believe productions of the play should leave Ensler’s words untouched. The fans hold that thought even if a performer doesn’t match the identity of the monologue’s character or feels uncomfortable saying certain parts. The Athens directors went against that notion and kept their cast members’ comfort in mind.
“The entire goal is to make an inclusive environment, and the original show doesn’t really do that,” Holbrook, a graduate student studying public administrations, said.
The team has also added three original monologues that more accurately reflect current issues faced by female-identifying individuals.
Tiffany Anderson, a junior studying computer engineering, said she’ll perform a monologue she wrote herself titled “PSA From a Trans Woman.”
She used her own experiences, along with those of others she knows, to make the words apply to a broad range of trans-identifying individuals.
“I want to be (the) representation for people who are female-identifying or identify as non-male,” she said.
Anderson said she enjoys the monologues that dive into heavier topics such as sexual assault because some topics haven’t been discussed in mainstream media enough.
Holbrook said two of the monologues talk about the gray area of sexual encounters, made especially relevant with the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements.
“Individuals (in those two monologues) didn’t feel like they were being sexually assaulted or raped at the time, but recognized that there was still a lot of issues with these interactions,” she said. “The way we have raised our men in society to view sex and sexual relations is very problematic ... (and) very disrespectful in a number of ways.”
Hayley Trachtenberg, an Athens resident, said Ensler’s original monologues focused specifically on white, middle-class women, whereas now there’s more inclusion in terms of gender, race and class.
“There’s so many topics (from the original monologues) that are still so prominent in the movement,” she said. “Some (monologues) are good reminders of what the feminist movement is about.”
Holbrook said the Vagina Monologues encourages conversations about healing and finding solutions for the problems that female-identifying individuals face, which everyone regardless of gender should participate in.
“(Women) will hopefully feel validated and understood from seeing this performance,” she said. “But when men see it, they’re shocked. It really puts into context what the women in their lives go through.”
All of the proceeds will be split evenly between My Sister’s Place and the Survivor Advocacy Outreach Program. The Vagina Monologues has always donated to My Sister’s Place, a domestic violence shelter, but the team wanted to aid another local organization that provided support to stop violence against women. SAOP helps survivors of sexual violence with medical support, legal aid and emotional healing.
Holbrook said the performances raised $3,333 in 2016, which was the last year she directed. She wants to top that amount by raising at least $3,334.
Trachtenberg, who will be performing in the Vagina Monologues, encouraged audience members to meet her after the performance to talk about how the monologues made them feel and what they related to.
“We need to keep constantly pushing forward the narrative,” she said.