A cast of female characters ranging from all ages and sexual identities was celebrated at the Dickinson Community Players’ rendition of “The Vagina Monologues,” performed this past weekend in the Chenango Champlain Collegiate Center (C4) Multipurpose Room.
“The Vagina Monologues” is a 1996 play written by Eve Ensler that discusses vaginas and everything about them through a series of monologues based on real-life interviews with women of various ages, sexualities, races and backgrounds. The play discusses vagina-related topics like body image, femininity, sexual experiences, rape, female genital mutilation and sexuality.
The Dickinson Community Players perform “The Vagina Monologues” every year during the month of February, and the proceeds from the show go to RISE, a local women’s shelter. The characters of the play include a 72-year-old woman experiencing an orgasm for the first time, a grown woman struggling to find her clitoris during a “vagina workshop” and a transgender woman embracing her femininity. For many of the episodes, a single actress was onstage by herself for up to 20 minutes, reciting and retelling a true narrative as if she herself were the woman being interviewed. The monologues were emotionally charged and engaging, sometimes entertaining and comedic and other times shocking and disturbing.
Bella Martinez, an actress in the show and a freshman majoring in business administration, said “The Vagina Monologues” brings audiences face-to-face with the uncomfortable topics of women’s health.
“My favorite aspect of the show is that it brings up a very taboo subject in our culture,” Martinez said. “It forces the audience to feel a bit uncomfortable for a few minutes but that works to help break that taboo feeling down. I love that ‘The Vagina Monologues’ is all about women empowering other women and encouraging women to take charge and embrace who they are.”
Chetna Khunteta, director of the show and a freshman majoring in psychology, said she liked the fact that the show is based on interviews with real women and their experiences.
“My favorite aspect of the show is the amount of emotion that the actresses conveyed in their message,” Khunteta said.
The cast rehearsed for a couple of weeks; rehearsals for the show were unique because it was a monologue series. Rehearsals consisted of no more than five people at a time.
“Rehearsals were a little different for this show since it was a monologue series,” Martinez said. “We all came in with our monologue groups [and] practiced and performed them for the director and assistant directors who gave us notes on how to improve the performance and develop our monologue.”
According to Khunteta, the hard work each performer put into rehearsals ultimately paid off.
“The actresses worked tirelessly for a short time of three weeks and managed to perfect and perform their monologues with elegance, confidence and class,” Khunteta said.
“Being a part of ‘The Vagina Monologues’ was an amazing experience that gave me new confidence in ways I did not know I needed,” Martinez said. “It felt really powerful to be part of such an amazing show and have the ability to give back to other women in need and help them get to where they need to be.”