by Kelsey Ketterling
“The what monologues?”
MSUM alumna Sarah Henning said this is the usual reaction she gets after mentioning “The Vagina Monologues.”
“They can’t even say the word vagina,” Henning said, “even though it is part of the title.”
The theater grad was production manager for the show in 2014, but Thursday’s 7:30 p.m. performance at Hansen Theatre will be her first time as a cast member. She will be performing “They Beat the Boy Out of My Girl” and “The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy.”
“The Vagina Monologues” is a play by Eve Ensler published in 1996 touching on topics from sex, love and orgasms, to rape and gential mutilation. Ensler’s play is based on interviews she conducted with 200 women about their views and experiences on these subjects.
“These stories need to be heard,” MSUM senior Carina Dumarce said.
Dumarce is the director and production manager for this year’s production. She is also performing the monologue “Vagina Workshop.”
The play features 13 speakers and a few monologues that differ from MSUM’s 2014 version.
Dumarce said she loves watching the performers make the monologues their own and connect with the stories personally.
“There is just something so empowering about the words coming out of our mouths,” she said. “They are all stories we can relate to.”
Dumarce said the play has made her feel liberated.
“It went from me feeling shy about who I was to me embracing myself and women as a whole,” she said.
Henning said she is “all about empowering the women” and knew when she first heard about “The Vagina Monologues” it was something she had to be a part of.
“I just love women,” Henning said. “We’re just awesome.”
Though “everyone comes from a vagina,” Henning said typical responses to the play include uncomfortable laughter and surprise at the topics discussed.
She believes there is a lot of mystery around vaginas because talking about them in public is a social taboo.
“Being a woman is more than OK,” Dumarce said. “In society, we are taught to keep quiet about things, and it’s kind of ridiculous. We shouldn’t be shy about who we are and the things that our bodies do.”
Both women agree the goal of the monologues is for audiences to realize talking freely about these things is normal.
“I want people to just have conversations about it fearlessly,” Henning said. “(The performers) are fearless about it. You can be fearless about it, too.”
Tickets to Thursday’s performance are $3 for singles and $5 for couples. Proceeds go to the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center.