As part of V-Day 2017, the UNB/STU University Women’s Centre put on two showings of the iconic play The Vagina Monologues.
Directed by Ally Loiselle, a social work student at St. Thomas University and Secretary of the University Women’s Centre, the play was held on Feb. 10th and 11th, 2017. It featured 12 cast members of current students and alumnae from UNB and STU. Proceeds of the event went towards the V-Day Violence Against Women in the Workplace Campaign and the University Women’s Centre.
This year’s performance at UNB featured an original monologue titled “No One Wants To Hear About Your Period (Except The People Who Do)”, written and performed by STU student Al Cusack. Cusack describes the monologue as a piece that explores the experience of a gender non-binary person that menstruates, and the stigmas and taboos that are related to sex, gender and menstruation.
The Vagina Monologues, an award-winning play by Eve Ensler, premiered in 1996. The play consists of several monologues, adapted from interviews with women about their views on sex, relationships, and violence against women, and it touches on many different subjects related to the experiences of women. The monologues range from sad to funny, capturing the audience and leaving a lasting impression about feminine subjects that are not often spoken about with such honesty.
During February of each year, the fees for the rights to the play are waived for one month in order to allow organizations to do a production of The Vagina Monologues as part of V-Day. The purpose of V-Day events is to raise awareness about violence against women, and raise money for organizations that are working to end violence.
Each year, Ensler writes a new Spotlight Monologue to be included in The Vagina Monologues. This year’s Spotlight Monologue, “I Call You Body”, was written to honor the work of women all over the world, in all its forms. The piece discusses laboring, caregiving, and many other forms of work, and highlights issues such as unsafe workplaces and violence against women. UNB student Martha Wallace performed this monologue for the University Women’s Centre’s show.
Another monologue featured in the show was “They Beat The Girl Out Of My Boy… Or So They Tried”, performed by Vee Sturgeon, Taylor McAnespy-Arsenault, Jennifer Murray, Elizabeth Tuck, and Al Cusack. This powerful monologue depicts the stories of transgender women and the struggles they face. It touches on issues of acceptance, from strangers or acquaintances as well as family, and broaches the positive feelings that can come along with transitioning and being able to express who you are.
Other impressive performances included “The Wear/Say Lists” performed by Sara Marie Nason, Mariana Carrera, and Paige Hurley; “Hair” performed by Jesse MacArthur; and “I Was There In The Room” performed by Heather Stuckless, with introductions performed by Alyson Richard.
The production featured a simple set, with chairs to be used as props for the actors, plain costumes for each character (except for the dominatrix), and allowed for a clear focus on the content of the monologues. Each member of the cast perfectly embodied the distinctive characters of the play, and had the audience captivated from the very first monologue.
Chelsea Lane is a student at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton.