Vagina Monologues caps off Sex Week

DSC_7100.jpg

Performers at The Vagina Monologues shed light on the intricate elements of female sexuality through various monologues. Phoot by Agata Poniatowski.

Sex Week culminated with the performance of The Vagina Monologues, a collection of anecdotes compiled by Eve Ensler that focus on elements of female sexuality.  The event took place on Feb. 16.

The Vagina Monologues is intended to be read out loud and colleges all over the nation strive to put this show on for the public. In last year’s rendition, Gabe Roman, currently the president of the Gender, Love and Sexuality Spectrum, cited love and tolerance as major themes. Roman indicated that The Vagina Monologues also acts as a venue to promote sex education.

According to the synopsis on the back cover of the playbill, Ensler created The Vagina Monologues in order to enter a forbidden conversation. Her play has been translated into 48 languages and performed in over 140 countries.

As students from Baruch College headed into the Multipurpose Room, the readers set up a semi-circle of chairs on either side of the stage and took a seat in sequential order. Prior to the official start, Eileen Makak, junior and head organizer of the event, addressed the audience and motioned to the projector screens to point out that the show has violent undertones of sexual harassment.

Ordinarily, the performance does not deviate from the play’s script and Baruch’s rendition followed that example. It opened up with Ensler’s signature narrative told by three women who go through the various epithets that often refer to the vagina. The humorous string of monikers varied by geographic location and the audience seemed enthralled.

The next segment performed was an ode to pubic hair. The actor assumed the role of a woman whose husband had an affair because she did not please him sexually when she refused to shave her pubic hair.

She described the therapy sessions she had and admitted that she had caved and shaved, but her husband had yet another affair. This segment provided commentary on the concept of the “male gaze,” which asks women to live up to difficult beauty standards for a man’s viewing pleasure.

Another segment that proved popular with the audience starred Makak as a 72-year-old woman who had given up on exploring her own sexuality after an embarrassing reaction from a prior male love interest. Although lengthier and more composed than the other anecdotes, this tale seemed to interest the crowd the most.

In contrast to last year’s rendition, Makak said that she connected better as a character this year.

“I think I understood the monologues better and was better able to assist in the developmental process of getting all of the actors ready for the show,” she said.

Later performances were darker in theme, focusing on heavy topics such as female genital mutilation and rape. Some audience members had emotional reactions to the content.

The theme colors this year also changed. Black and white dominated the show last year, while black and red became signature colors this year.

“Red is more powerful and vicious,” Bryan Tan, an audience member, said. “I can see that. I don’t know if I can speak about it but I liked the show. I was one of the only men and I didn’t notice the color scheme until someone mentioned it. It’s definitely more vibrant, more show-y. It fits the theme.”

First-time attendee Melissa Karlic also loved the show. Prior to attending the show on Feb. 17, she had never heard of the book despite its continuous success.

“I didn’t expect to stay,” Karlic said. “I’m glad I did because I learned a lot about sex and sexuality. It’s hard to talk openly about these things sometimes, but I’m glad the venue for it exists.”

The performance was hosted by Peer Advocates for Wellness Services, a division of T.E.A.M. Baruch run out of the Health & Wellness Center. A medley of both students and faculty members came out to view the performance.

NewsNewsComment