DELAWARE, Ohio – Ohio Wesleyan University students will perform “The Vagina Monologues,” written by Tony Award-winning playwright Eve Ensler, to raise awareness of violence against women and girls and to support HelpLine of Delaware and Morrow Counties Inc.’s Sexual Assault Response Network.
Ohio Wesleyan’s production will feature more than 50 performers including Pitch Black, the university’s all-female a cappella group, and three dance routines. It also will feature an exhibition of artworks by Ohio Wesleyan female art students.
“The Vagina Monologues,” which debuted in 1994, has been described by Charles Isherwood of The New York Times as “probably the most important piece of political theater of the last decade.” The play has since been translated into more than 48 languages and performed in more than 140 countries.
In 1998, Ensler and with a group of women in New York City established V-Day, a related global activist movement committed to ending violence against women and girls. Once each year, in February, March, and April, Ensler allows groups to perform the play – as well as other works created by V-Day – to benefit local efforts to end violence against females. Today, more than 5,800 V-Day events are held annually worldwide.
Ohio Wesleyan’s production is sponsored by the Women’s House and the House of Peace and Justice (themed small living units), the Spectrum Resource Center, and the Women’s Resource Center.
Leah Shaeffer, a senior theatre education major from Columbus, is serving as producer and co-director of “The Vagina Monologues” and as campus campaign coordinator for the university’s V-Day 2013 events. Andrea Kraus, a senior theatre major from Kissimmee, Fla., is the play’s co-director. Because the production contains explicit descriptions of rape, sexual assault, violence, and abuse, it can be difficult to watch at times, Shaeffer said, but the topic is vital.
“The Vagina Monologues is a vitally important piece of activist theatre, and I am happy to be directing it at OWU for the second time,” Shaeffer said. “Although the subject matter can be dark, there is also much joy, enlightenment, and beauty to be found in this production. Our cast of 50 women have shared moments of grief and tears, to be certain, but more often our rehearsals and gatherings have been filled with laughter, embraces, and dancing.
“We hope to show our audiences how a community of strong, empowered women built on respect for ourselves and others can make a real impact on the world and work to unravel the global patriarchal culture that is harmful to all genders,” she concluded.
Ohio Wesleyan’s performances of “The Vagina Monologues” will be held at 8 p.m. March 22 and March 23 in Jemison Auditorium inside Sanborn Hall, 23 Elizabeth St., Delaware. Doors will open at 7:30 p.m., and the artworks will be displayed in the lobby To reserve tickets, email VDay2013OWU@gmail.com with a name, email address, and telephone number for each ticketholder. Tickets cost between $2 and $5 (a sliding scale based on ability to pay), with additional contributions accepted to support HelpLine. Reservations are strongly recommended as previous performances have sold out.
New this year, Shaeffer said, will be a second V-Day event – “A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant and a Prayer,” a free performance based on writings by author-activists such as Edward Albee and Maya Angelou. This production also focuses on ending violence against women and is important because it includes the male perspective on gendered violence, Shaeffer said. The one-time performance will be held at 8 p.m. March 26 in Room 209 of the R.W. Corns Building, 78 S. Sandusky St. Donations to HelpLine will be collected, and the event will feature a talk-back with the performers and director.
Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier small, private universities. Ohio Wesleyan offers more than 90 undergraduate majors, sequences, and courses of study, and 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. OWU combines an internationally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities that connect classroom theory with real-world practice. Located in Delaware, Ohio, OWU’s 1,850 students represent 41 states and 45 countries. The university is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” listed on the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, and included on the “best colleges” lists of U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Learn more at www.owu.edu.