This semester, I was lucky enough to be cast in The Vagina Monologues, presented by The Center for Gender, Sexuality and Activism. Participating in this piece has been a theatrical experience unlike any I have had before, because it feels like so much more than a play. It has given me the opportunity to engage in an important dialogue with other women, and from that, to take the discussions into my daily life.
For anyone who doesn’t know, the Vagina Monologues is a series of monologues or group pieces based on Eve Ensler’s interviews with over 200 women from all walks of life and areas of the world. It is a play about the collective female experience through the lens of the vagina. The pieces range from serious to humorous, covering everything from rape to whether or not to shave down there. It is a beautiful and moving play—I have yet to get through a rehearsal without crying.
Doing this piece is a new experience for me as an actor because I feel a sense of urgency all the time. I honestly believe that these stories need to be told, and I am dying to get in front of an audience and tell them. There is no need to talk about raising the stakes—the stakes are already sky high, when you think about the fact that 1 in 4 women will face sexual abuse in her life time. The issues the play addresses are not talked about enough and it’s terrifying. Women need to see this show because it is about them, whether they know it going in or not. Men need to see it so that they can come closer to understanding how different, in some ways, our experience of the world is from theirs.
I find Ensler and her work to be incredibly inspiring. I want to create a piece like this more than anything. We need more pieces that inspire and empower people to take it with them out of the theatre and into the world. This art form that we practice is so powerful; there is nothing like the energy and connection that are created during live theatre. More works need to harness that power and use it to make a difference in the world.