Revamped Vagina Monologues will make you want to come

By Anika Kulander

Vagina. More than half the world’s population has one, yet the word still carries the weight of stigmatization and shame for many. Why does the word “vagina” have so many negative connotations? Why is there such a social stigma against talking about it? This year, Macalester students are yet again putting on the popular play, The Vagina Monologues, as a means of addressing these questions and to stand up to violence against women. The Vagina Monologues is based on around 200 interviews the playwright Eve Ensler conducted with women of all ages and ethnicities regarding issues surrounding the vagina. These issues include: sex, love, rape, menstruation, masturbation and birth, to name a few. Since the show’s inception in 1996, it has become an iconic staple performed at many colleges and universities across the world. “It’s something that I’m really grateful that the school supports and I think it’s something that needs to happen,” said Zoe Kusinitz ’14, one of the organizers of the show. “I don’t think people talk about it enough—women, sexuality, gender issues—all of it.” Lisa Hu ’15, one of the actresses in the show, agreed. “Promoting dialogue and thought is what any kind of theater does,” Hu said, “Especially somewhere like Mac, where 60% of the student population is female, I think it’s important for women to talk about themselves.” One of the main goals of The Vagina Monologues is to encourage discourse about gender and sexuality issues, and that’s exactly what co-director Kate Ibur ’14 wants at Macalester. “It’s really important…especially with a lot of the female body shaming that goes on in our culture—even around the world.” Although the Monologues deal with issues concerning women, Hu makes the point that vaginas affect everyone and that “there’s a place for men too.” As Hu put it, “We all came into the world somehow!” Hu will be performing in two monologues. The first one, “My Vagina is My Village,” is about sodomy and rape. The second one, “The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy”—also known as the “moaning piece”—is about a woman who loves to pleasure other woman. These are just two out of around a dozen monologues that will be performed by the all-female cast this year. Kusinitz depicts the show as a “mix of spoken word and a play,” and elaborated on the show’s elements. “[The Vagina Monologues consists of] little stories performed by women; stories that touch on a whole host of things, like being safe in your body, being uncomfortable in your body, owning sexuality, struggling to find who you are and how you feel,” Kusinitz said. “[It portrays] the old, the young and different ethnicities. All of the stories are weaved together in a beautiful neat package.” Although it’s the third year that Macalester has done the Monologues, this year the organizers and directors are doing things a little differently to try to widen the impact of the event. “This year we are putting more effort into meeting on a regular, weekly basis in order to build a tighter community and get more in touch with the monologues,” wrote co-director Ina Rojnic ’13 in an email. “That is something that definitely needed improvement as opposed to last year.” Ibur, who acted in The Vagina Monologues last year, hopes the more formal rehearsal schedule will help the actors commit and do their best work. “As an actress [last year], it was just really frustrating to see people not really committed to a really important event,” Ibur said. “[This year] I want to make sure when it comes show time, people are acting and they aren’t just trying to remember their lines.” Rojnic hopes that the new focus on commitment will produce a show that is both poignant and thought provoking. “My vision as a director for this show is to make an emotional impact on the people who come to see it,” wrote Rojnic. “I want the audience to become more conscious of their own (dis)comfort zones when talking about women and their sexuality.” Although the pieces are about serious topics and, as Hu said, deserve “quiet examination and pause,” they are also meant to be quite funny. “I love how entertaining, informative, moving, and thought provoking it is,” said Austin Delmond ’12, the other co-organizer of the event. “It can make you laugh, it can make you cry, [and] it can change your mind.” Event Details: Friday, April 27 and Saturday, April 28 at 7:00 p.m. Sunday, April 29 at 3:00 p.m. John B. Davis Lecture Hall (JBD) Tickets are $5 T-shirts and concessions will be sold at the event Sponsored by FIA*STARSA, MPIRG and Mac Activists for Choice. Proceeds benefit Breaking Free. 10% of the proceeds go to women in Haiti through the V-Day organization. For more information on Breaking Free, please visit: For more information on The Vagina Monologues and V-Day, please