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February 12, 2004 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-02-12

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12B - The Michigan Daily - Weekend MaguLine - Thursday, February 12, 2004
Student-run 'Monologues' return to campus

By Rachel Kmr
Daily Arts Writer
The V-Day invasion has begun.
Legions of girls with "I heart Michigan
Vaginas" shirts have descended upon the
University. Magenta flyers adorned with
the silhouette of a combat boot are visi-
ble at every point on campus from the
UGLi to the corridors of East Quad.
Whether you are ready or not, it is time,
as Eve Ensler would say, "to embrace the
Vagina." Her off-Broadway play, "The
Vagina Monologues,' sparked a move-
ment in colleges around the nation. It is
now as synonymous with college as red-
plastic cups, pirated music and Madden
2003. On Sunday, a student-run produc-
tion of "The Vagina Monologues" will
be presented at the Power Center as part
of the V-Day Campaign.
Let's not beat around the bush - the
show's bawdy nature can be somewhat
overwhelming for many. The humor,
however, acts as a tool to make the real
issues digestible. Constructed around
Ensler's "vagina interviews," the mono-
logues illuminate real women's pain,

i

Students rehearse for this weekend's "Vagina Monologues" performances.

happiness, misfortune and longing for a
better future.
Originally released in 1997, it imme-
diately garnered attention for its uncon-
ventional fusion of acting and activism.
The critical and commercial success of
the show allowed Ensler to expand her
vision into V-Day. Celebrated on or
around Valentine's Day, Ensler gives up
the rights to the show once a year so
that local theatre companies can pro-
duce it and donate the proceeds to
grassroots, national, and international
programs that strive to end violence
against women.
To partake in the V-Day Campaign,
groups donate 10 percent of the shows
to a specific, international charity. This
year the international charity Ensler
chose is the Missing and Murdered
Women in Juarez, Mexico. Over 300
women and girls have disappeared or
been killed in Juarez over the past
decade. These funds will be channeled
directly to Casa Amiga, a shelter for
women who do not want to risk abduc-
tion by walking or taking the bus home
late at night. Another 10 percent of the
proceeds go to the Clemency Project
chapter in Ann Arbor and 80 percent
will be contributed to Safehouse in
Ypsilanti.
Even if one has seen the production
performed before by a professional or
university troupe, many changes imple-
mented this year demand an encore.
First, Eve Ensler has incorporated three
new monologues, "The Memory of Her
Face," "Crooked Braid" and "Eve's
Warrior Statement." Second, while main-
taining the focus on violence against
women, Ensler promotes a political
agenda. "It is safe to say that Eve has
become more political about talking
about how violence affects women," said
and producer of the show Johanna
Schuster-Craig, a LSA junior.
In the poignant monologue,
"Memory of Her Face," a woman
describes how planes "promising free-
dom" dropped bombs from the sky
that burned her face away into molten
flesh. Lastly, there is a reference to the
University insinuated in "Eve's
Warrior Statement." Eve chronicles
where she has met women of different
backgrounds and nationalities from
Pakistan, to Bosnia, to the University,
where she spoke last year on V-Day.
Another new feature implemented in
the production is the male "forum." RC
senior Sam Botsford, LSA junior
Brandon White, LSA junior Harlyn

Pacheco and doctoral student Gary
Brouhardt all collaborated together to
write this hilarious yet tender take on
their female counterparts. "Part of our
inspiration was derived from personal
stories and from hearing about what
other guys talk about. We basically focus
on the confusion we have towards the
opposite gender as there's no guidebook
for us on how to understand women,"
Botsford explains.
As the play looms closer, each
actress grapples with her own difficul-
ties in portraying her role. With the
first monologue, "Hair," LSA fresh-
man Marisa Harris faces the challenge
of setting the tone for the entire show
- funny yet poignant, and experi-
enced but not bitter. She elucidates the
significance of her role: "My mono-
logue is about an important issue that
faces women everyday. My mono-
logue is about hair - the hair down
there. Should you trim, should you
shave, or just let it kick? Whatever
your decision is, it should be your
decision to make."
LSA junior Rachel Easley, who
denounces tampons and gynecology
exams in her impassioned rant, "My
Angry Vagina," has a very unusual fan
base planning to attend the perform-
ance. Easley tells, "My family, church
members and grandmother are all
coming. I'm a little nervous, because
my grandmother has never heard me
talk like this; she's a little conserva-
tive. I try to tell people it's a good
thing, it's only your vagina."
The director of the show, RC senior
Susie Schutt, also promises that the
direction of the show is different this
year. In the past, video montages and
other technical devices elongated the
show time and deviated from "The
Vagina Monologues' " organic feel.
Schutt said her goal is to, "get (it) back
by being simple and let the words be
powerful. To do this I did not pick
actresses." Although few theatre
majors are in the cast, the majority of
actors and actresses covet professional
aspirations outside the performance
realm. When assigning roles, she took
into consideration the personalities,
energy and tone of the individual
instead of an extensive acting resume
because, as Schutt put it, "this is about
women talking to women."
7ickets are available at the Union for
$10.00. The show will play on Sunday,
February 15 at 2:30 and 7:30.

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