The Vagina Monologues are coming back to Gonzaga University in partnership with the YWCA Spokane’s Domestic Violence Safe Shelter.
While this is the second time the monologues have come to GU, it is the first time it is being held as a public event through the University’s theatre curriculum.
“Gonzaga’s Theatre and Dance department is proud to support YWCA’s vital work by doing what theatre artists do best — telling stories,” said Leslie Stamoolis, GU assistant professor of theatre and dance, in a statement. Stamoolis will be directing the performance. “The Vagina Monologues are powerful for the voices they give to so many people who are usually silenced by society. And telling those stories, in those voices, gives power to the narratives — it reminds us all that these stories matter, and in fact every woman’s story matters.”
The Vagina Monologues were written more than two decades ago by Eve Elsner, who interviewed two hundred women, creating a diverse celebration of women ‘s sexuality.
“To honor all women and what we have accomplished, including trans-women and gender-fluid women, all monologues that represent these women are preformed by real identifying trans-women and gender-fluid women,” said Olivia Moorer, student director and co-producer of The Vagina Monologues. The play is rated R. It deals with issues of rape and sexual and domestic violence. The YWCA will have trained support representatives there to support any audience member triggered by these topics.
The Vagina Monologues’ success inspired Elsner to start the nonprofit V-Day, which works with groups and local women’s shelters to end violence against women and girls around the world.
V-Day is a seasonal celebration that takes the romance of Valentine’s Day and pivots it toward the real issue that one-in-three women will experience sexual or domestic violence in their lifetime.
V-Day has raised over $100 million worldwide to combat domestic violence through educational programs, campaign efforts and re-opened shelters and safe houses. The GU Theatre and Dance department will donate 90 percent of the event’s profits to the YWCA Spokane Safe Shelter, which assists women to escape violent situations in Spokane. The other 10 percent of profits will go toward funding future national V-Day campaign efforts. This year, they are focusing on donating to women who are or have been incarcerated.
Moorer said there are many ways to celebrate V-Day, and that the purpose of the campaign is to bring awareness to all the causes that affect women, especially domestic and sexual violence.
The One Billion Rising media campaign is also being tied into this event, bringing to light that one billion people will experience sexual assault in their lifetimes.
Along with the performance a discussion with University Religious Studies professors Megan McCabe and Patrick McCormick will take into the plays diverse accounts of woman’s sexuality, gender, race, and violence against women and the theology the play represents. This conversation will be taking place the day after Valentine’s Day, Feb. 15, in the Magnuson Theatre.
Tickets to “The Vagina Monologues” are $15 or $10 with your Zagcard through GU’s Theatre Department website. The event will take place Feb. 14 at 7:30 p.m. at the Magnuson Theatre. Tickets will also be available at the door, opening at 7 p.m.
Madison Prince is a contributor.