“The Vagina Monologues” and “A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and Prayer” are part of a global movement called V-Day. V-Day promotes creative events to increase awareness for the fight to stop violence against woman and girls and raise money for anti-violence organizations. “The Vagina Monologues” were created by a collection of interviews from actual woman and take a more comic approach to issues that woman face such as, experiences with men, women, self discovery, and issues with their “down there” as quoted by Katti Mayk, an actress in “The Vagina Monologues”. Although it seems like “The Vagina Monologues” are all fun and games if you look deeper you will discover that the play is much more than that.
“The Vagina Monologues”, along with “A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant, and Prayer” also deal with serious issues about rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation and sexual slavery. More so than “The Vagina Monologues”, M.M.R.P. goes deeper in these issues and is very informative of the violence that exists worldwide. Various artists who felt it was necessary to raise awareness to audiences everywhere wrote M.M.R.P. Local volunteers and college students produce annual benefit performances of “The Vagina Monologues” and M.M.R.P. to raise awareness and funds for anti-violence groups within their own communities and our very own Bloomsburg University is one of them.
From February 3 to February 7, 2009 Bloomsburg University held “The Vagina Monologues” and M.M.R.P. It was performed by primarily Bloomsburg students and some volunteers from the Bloomsburg community including, Toni Ann Yates who is responsible for introducing our campus to V-Day.
About nine years ago Yates went to Prof. Karen Anselm and asked her if she would be interested getting Bloomsburg University involved in “The Vagina Monologues” and without hesitation Anselm agreed. The play has been running for ten years and Bloomsburg University has been involved for eight years. We have been a part of V-Day from the very beginning thanks to Yates who still performs in the plays to this day. The play is sponsored by Bloomsburg University and is always organized by students. The past production in early 2009 was organized by Dianna Santos, a student at Bloomsburg University and advised by Anselm. “The Vagina Monologues” and M.M.R.P that are performed at our college benefit two different anti-violence centers in our area, The Woman’s Center Inc. in Bloomsburg and Beyond Violence Inc. in Berwick; Columbia Montour Family Health. This year the play raised $1,000 and all proceeds were given to these two corporations. “Vagina Monologues” and M.M.R.P have been known to raise as much as $5,000 in previous years. Our audiences are dwindling and so is the amount of money the plays have raised and this is why I chose to raise my own awareness within our campus.
I am Andrea Brookman, a sophomore at Bloomsburg University and was a first time performer in “The Vagina Monologues”. I heard about the plays from a college that I transferred from and I was under the impression that it was just a comedy. When I transferred to Bloomsburg University I realized that they too sponsored “The Vagina Monologues” and M.M.R.P. and that the production was coming up in February. At first, I was reluctant to get involved because of the racy topics that the play discussed but once I realized that it was so much more than woman talking about their vaginas and that it was a production that benefited women’s centers in our area I knew it was something I had to do. Getting my feet wet by being on stage for the first time was something I wanted to do as an actress but it was the charity that was the deciding factor for me to be in the “Vagina Monologues”. I came into the play thinking I had it all figured out but I had no clue what I was getting myself into. This performance changed my way of thinking and heightened my level of understanding. I had no clue about the abuse that some women and children face not only nationally but also worldwide. It doesn’t matter who you are, this play will move you.
Abbi Parker who has participated in the “Vagina Monologues” for three years said, “ The Vagina Monologues has two purposes. It’s not just about the charity but for the cast it’s a bonding experience. It’s empowering and for the audience it’s shocking and informative. It’s a yearly event, come and see it next year if you didn’t catch it this year, it’s an important thing.”
V-Day is growing at a rapid pace throughout the world, in 120 countries from Europe to Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, and all of North America. In 2001, V-Day was named one of Worth Magazine’s “100 Best Charities” and in 2006 one of Marie Claire Magazine’s Top Ten Charities. In ten years, the V-Day movement has raised over 60 million dollars. All I ask of you is to help keep V-Day alive in Bloomsburg University. You too can make a difference.