Play offers insight into psyche of women

Michelle Conty

Michelle Conty

Michelle Conty

Rather than absurdism and unrealistic humor, The Vagina Monologues was a well-written, well-acted window into the woman’s psyche. In two 40-minute acts, actresses in unobtrusive dress on a minimalist set addressed the audience on women’s issues, thoughts, fears, triumphs and in some cases, nightmares.

“I thought it was an accurate representation of women and what we go through,” said Jan Maldonado, senior theatre major and part-time student house manager.

Maldonado said she performed in the monologues for women who are in bad relationships.

“This whole thing was done because of the violence, we want the violence to stop,” she said.

The Vagina Monologues consist of a series of narratives about women’s issues and violence against women, based on interviews with women worldwide and of varying ages and backgrounds — ranging from a Bosnian woman’s story of the atrocities of rape camps to a teen-ager’s memories of sexual abuse. The seriousness of the narratives was lightened by humorous but provocative vignettes about the rite of passage of menstruation to memories of first orgasms. Monologues ranged from narratives to emotional stories — some a plea, some a rant.

“It was a good cause, I like what it stood for, what the play actually spoke about,” said Kris Stoker, senior theatre major. “What it said is something everybody should be aware of. It’s a good thing for guys to see. It’s not equal rights. It’s anti-violence and anti-abuse.”

“I like to entertain people for a reason,” said Sunni Stumpff, senior theatre major. “The money raised went to a benefit, and it is such an amazing cause.”

“It’s nice to get a perspective on women and how they think and see things; you rarely get insight on women’s thoughts and the things people really try to hide,” said Bill Dessenberger, freshman CIS major. “It’s a unique kind of performance, it’s acting, but it’s not. I really liked it. You get a positive feeling; it’s empowering for guys too.”

The Vagina Monologues was a benefit production, performed in observance of V-Day, Until the Violence Stops.

V-Day is a global movement to stop violence, including rape, battery and incest against women and girls. V-Day promotes events to increase awareness about violence and to raise funding for grassroots organizations and programs that provide prevention services and direct aid to victims.

“It’s a good evening of theatre and an eye-opening experience,” Stoker said. “I heard some statistics in the play and think people should hear them, and think what kind of a place do we live in where this kind of stuff goes on. It made me think what can I do to keep it from happening, aside from the fact of not being the kind of person who does those sort of things.”

Proceeds benefited the Women’s Consumer Outreach Council. The Council’s mission is to assist women and their children seeking help for domestic violence, sexual assault, mental illness and substance abuse by providing empowering, compassionate services.

“I was disappointed that none of the faculty with the exception of Dr. Fields and Dr. Kumbier came to the performance,” Stumpff said.

The Vagina Monologues was written by Eve Ensler, V-Day founder, has been performed at such venues as Madison Square Garden, and has starred Oprah Winfrey, Glenn Close and Calista Flockhart.

The cast of the local production included Missouri Southern students, alumnae and area professional women. It was directed by Tegan Whited, Southern theatre alumna.

Whited is active with Joplin Little Theatre. Copyrights were waived for the scripts. Fliers and programs were paid for by donations.