I went to the Friday night performance of “The Vagina Monologues” earlier this month and was blown away. It is hard to put into words what I most liked about this piece, but I think I will have to go with the brutal honesty of the scenes presented and the raw emotion that the actresses put into the portrayal of their characters.
Jessica Hood ’15 was a standout performer in “My Angry Vagina.” This was my, and if the audience’s response was any indication, many people’s favorite monologue. Hood’s character said things that I am sure almost every person with a vagina has thought in their life. Like every actress in every scene, Hood put her whole soul into her performance.
Each monologue was about a different woman’s experience, in some cases the experiences of many women combined. There were some monologues, such as “Because He Liked to Look At It” (performed by Sydney Exler ’18), which involved a woman who came to love and accept her vagina and had a happy ending for the women speaking.
I thought “The Woman Who Loved To Make Vaginas Happy” was also an excellent piece because it portrays sex workers in a much different light than many people think of them. Zari Havercome ’16 did a good job of showing a different side to the industry that I do not think enough people talk about.
Along with these monologues about the empowerment of women and their vaginas, there were also pieces that discussed the horrors that have been inflicted on women, such as the startling and terrible truths about the statistics of female genital modification.
Another piece that struck me was a heart-wrenching performance of “My Vagina Was My Village” by Kiana Nwaobia ’17 that express the horrors women experienced when raped as an act of aggression in the Bosnian War and forced into rape camps, framed through the perspective of one woman. Before I saw this monologue I never spent much thought on how horrible rape is as a war crime. I like to read and watch a lot of things about world history, and when people speak of history and war crime the phrase “raping and pillaging” is used so often that I suppose I have become desensitized to it. This monologue reminded me that each statistic that we hear about is more than just a number on a page. They are real people that have experienced the awfulness of having their control over themselves and their body ripped from them in the cruelest way possible.
Overall I think that this year’s performance of “The Vagina Monologues” had a good balance of the good and the bad and everything in between when it comes to a person’s relationship with their vagina. The show made me think of things I hadn’t thought about in a long time, if I ever had. “The Vagina Monologues” is a show that everyone should see at least once in their lives.
Even so, no two performances of a show is the same, and no performance is perfect. These facts are true of any live production, and many films as well. There were slip ups in the production, as there are in many shows, but the difference between this performance of “The Vagina Monologues” and some other shows I’ve seen in my life is the quick and professional recovery from the very few mistakes that I was able to notice. The actresses in this production were all amazing, and while there were bumps along the way, the show was well put together, and I applaud them for their efforts. I am sure that the graduating seniors will do great things beyond Brandeis, and I hope that those who are staying continue to star in more Brandeis productions such as this one.