The power of the vagina comes to SFU

WEB-lips-Mark Burnham

“Vagina” is a sticky word. While it refers to part of the female anatomy, it is incredibly intimate in connotation. Unlike its male counterpart, “penis” or “dick,” the word “vagina” is not used liberally in society; in fact its use seems almost like a faux pas. Yet it is that very body part that not only defines a woman in the physical sense but is also a powerful symbol of who she can be.

This is the mindset that The Vagina Monologues aims to tackle. Created by Tony Award winning playwright Eve Ensler, this beautiful collection of monologues explores the ups and downs of being a woman — with stories ranging from hilarious sex tales to heart wrenching accounts of sexual abuse.

It was this very collection of works which inspired the creation of the V-day movement — a global activist movement that aims to end violence against women and girls. The cause has now raised over $100 million through proceeds from productions such as The Vagina Monologues that are being performed all over the world.

SFU will be hosting a production of The Vagina Monologues with proceeds from the show benefitting the North Shore Women’s Centre. Eighteen talented young women have been hard at work in order to bring these stories to life.

“With media portrayals and public dialogue on the subject [often being] demeaning and oppressive, we need art like this to encourage discussion of our own experiences.”

Gabrielle Lamoureux, performer

Performer Gabrielle Lamoureux says of the show, “I think The Vagina Monologues is still so relevant because it deals with vaginas and womanhood in an open and often positive way. With media portrayals and public dialogue on the subject [often being] demeaning and oppressive, we need art like this to encourage discussion of our own experiences.”

Fellow performer Diana Bartosh agrees and says of her participation in the production, “I saw the show at UBC last year and immediately wanted to get involved because I missed doing theatre. The show starts important conversations that people can be afraid of initiating.” Indeed, even the title of the show is straight-forward and in your face, allowing for the societal taboo surrounding the word to be addressed before its opening lines.

Camila Cardenas, Nina Boosheri, and Erika Dee are the three students who have organized the event and worked with the actors to make it a reality at SFU. One of the directors, Camila Cardenas, says of her love for the show: “It is one of the shows that I have enjoyed [doing] the most. It is funny, sad, inspirational, intuitive . . . I think shows like this help to acknowledge the very real part of our humanity.”

It is not a raunchy romp of sex stories, although there are plenty of laughs in store for the audience. The stories of these women echo with threads of vulnerability, brokenness, and in the midst of it all, an inherent source of strength. Relatable and humorous, the show also explores issues such as how women are seen and treated in society.

The monologues will be performed on March 26 at the Orpheum Theatre downtown and on March 28 at the SFU Images Theatre on the Burnaby campus. Tickets can be purchased online or at the door and can be accessed through the link posted on The Vagina Monologues Facebook event page.