‘Monologues’ gives voice to women’s issues

UIC students and employees take the stage Friday and Saturday for UIC’s annual performance of “The Vagina Monologues.” Photo: Krista Coulter

By Krista Coulter

Whether the women were new to the group, veterans returning for yet another performance, or students and faculty who had joined to support a good cause, their rehearsal ran smoothly and excitedly.

Once they finished practicing and started talking amongst themselves, it became clear that each performer had her own reason to get onstage for UIC’s 2013 performance of “The Vagina Monologues.”

“I did ‘The Vagina Monologues’ as an undergrad and I thought this was a great opportunity to meet other like-minded women,” graduate student Jessica LeBeau-Richman said.

“A lot of the women I’ve worked with have experienced violence or discrimination so I feel like it’s a good way to have their spirit with me.”

Other performers stepped into the spotlight for the first time, intrigued by the buzz surrounding the play and wanting to step out of their comfort zones.

“This is my first time; I’m a ‘Vagina’ virgin,” undergrad Gabriela Illa said. “My girlfriend Vanessa [Lopez] is actually the one who made me audition for it with her so I’m really excited I got forced into it and I think it’s going to be a great show.”

The cast hits the stage at 7 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday at in L285 Education, Performing Arts and Social Work Building. Students can purchase tickets for $5 with i-card; others are $10. Purchase tickets from any cast member, at the UIC Campus Advocacy Network office (802 University Hall), online or by emailing vday.uic@gmail.com.

“The Vagina Monologues,” originally a play written by feminist activist Eve Ensler, is a series of monologues that touch on issues of sex, love, rape, violence and more. The performance led to the formation of V-Day, a global movement to end violence against women, celebrated at a national and also local level.

The cast and crew will hold their annual V-Fest event March 8 for International Women’s Day, hoping to bring in people to share their own stories and get involved.

“The play doesn’t directly address everything,” director Josie Mazza said. “So a lot of times people come to the show and they feel pumped and they want to know how they can get involved and we want to use that as a mechanism to get people involved.”

Most of the performers cited raising awareness as a key reason for joining “The Vagina Monologues.”

“I consider myself a feminist since I was a teenager and I support raising awareness about violence against women and girls,” faculty member Christina Tomacic said.

“I invited friends and family [last year] who would
not consider themselves feminists or never even use the word ‘vagina’ in mixed company and had them leave empowered.”

kcoult2@uic.edu

• Krista Coulter is a senior in communication.


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