Vagina, vagina, vagina: 'Monologues' return

    The Vagina has arrived. The Vagina Monologues, that is. A project that has been slowly but steadily promoted and produced through a dedicated group of students at UCSD opens this week in honor of National V-Day. The “”V”” symbolizes Victory, Valentine and Vagina.

    Originally a one-woman, off-Broadway show written and performed by Eve Ensler in 1998, the monologues have transformed into a worldwide phenomenon in the crusade to stop violence against women. College campuses and volunteers around the world contribute their time and efforts to put on a V-Day production every year. Most of the proceeds go to charities fighting violence against women. Through the V-Day productions, the movement is propelled by creative projects to educate and bring awareness to the subject of violence against women occurring daily.

    This year’s production at UCSD includes cast and crew of 50 passionate young students, mostly female, who all rave with a glint in their eyes about the production and their involvement.

    Co-producer Steph Levenstone laughs, saying, “”I got sucked into the Vagina, and once you get sucked in you never get out.””

    Levenstone has been involved with the production for two years. Director Jenn Pae, a Revelle College senior, has been involved with the production for most of her college career. She started as an actor and then moved to co-direct and direct. “”Every year is different because we have different people in the cast with different interpretations. I hope that for the people who were fortunate enough to get tickets, [they] will get an eye-opening experience and think about things they hadn’t thought of before,”” she said.

    The cast consists of 44 diverse females, each from different backgrounds and with different reasons for why they got involved. Angie Cary, a Thurgood Marshall College senior, is a first-time performer who saw last year’s show and was inspired to get involved after hearing all of the stories. Cary performs her piece, “”Reclaiming Cunt,”” with confident, powerful sexuality.

    “”I think my piece empowers women to take charge of their own sexuality,”” says Cary.

    Most pieces in “”The Vagina Monologues”” deal with exploring the female power and the vagina, which offers something educational for both female and male audiences.

    Kerry McGrath, a graduate student, decided to become involved as a way to get back into theater.

    McGrath said that the show has “”been truly amazing. [It’s] one of the most powerful things to see these girls come into their own strength … [Going to rehearsals] are kind of like going home.””

    She performs another monologue titled “”Because He Liked to Look”” with a shy yet confident demeanor. Along with the monologues, ensemble pieces are an integral part of the performance. The pieces are hilarious, heart-breaking and healing.

    Levenstone explains that the sets are simple and the costumes are broken down into color themes to keep it plain because “”the words are [what are] important. The words are powerful.”” The costumes, which are usually red and black, added pink this year because Levenstone explains that “”pink is the color of healing, and that is a lot of what the Vagina Monologues are about.””

    The performances adhere to strict guidelines from Eve Ensler, from scripts to costumes to number of performances each production can have (three). As part of the V-Day 2004 College Campaign, the fifth annual UCSD “”Vagina Monologues”” production will take place at Price Center Theater on Feb. 11 and Feb. 13.

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