It starts with a “c” and rhymes with “bunt.” Don’t worry, you don’t have to say it out loud.
But, if you were at the Drew University Center on Sunday night at around 8 p.m. chances are that you would have not been the only one screaming this at the top of your lungs.
Sunday was the final night of the two-day performance of the renowned “Vagina Monologues.” You either are extremely familiar with this play, or might be thinking to yourself, “What the heck?”
Either way, just know that it was all in celebration of the vagina in honor of the last week of Women’s History Month.
“The Vagina Monologues” is an award-winning play written and first performed by Eve Ensler in 1996. The production has since been performed by both high school and college students, as well as professional actors in theater and television.
Ensler also began V-Day in 1998, a global movement that has raised more than $70 million in an effort to end violence against women and girls through benefit productions of the play.
The monologues are updated every year with the addition of a monologue tackling a current issue affecting women around the globe.
The 2011 addition to “The Vagina Monologues” focused on the women of Haiti that were affected by the 2010 earthquake.
The two-hour event, run by Drew University students, was held in a room half the size of the Dreyfuss Theater. Despite its size, almost all of the approximately 140 seats were filled with either FDU or Drew students, professors, friends or relatives. And, yes, there were even men in the audience.
The white walls were decorated with pink, red and purple construction paper cut outs, each with a different word or phrase written across it that served as slang term replacements for “vagina.”
The stage, which was of adequate size for the eight performers - Alex Brown, Emily Miller, Rachel Schachter, Miranda Poett, Taylor Poruks, Edith Braggiotti-Painting, Lenora Jackson and Kate Thomas - was canvassed with a large, handprint-filled banner that read “These Hands Will Never Hurt Women.”
The play is divided by separate monologues.
Each is based on a true story that Ensler was told by women she interviewed throughout the country, and even the world.
Some of the monologues were humorous, asking questions like: “If your vagina wore clothes, what would it wear?” or “If your vagina could talk, what would it say in two words?” The answers varied from, “A hat!” to “Where’s Bob?”
There were monologues that were much more somber dealing with issues like the cruelties of female genital mutilation or how rape in some countries is used a systematic tactic of war.
Each monologue either left the crowd catching their breath in between bursts of laughter or holding it in due to the shock of the realities that some girls as young as 15 years old had to face. Other monologues simply left the audience with no other option but to applaud vigorously.
The monologue, “Teenage Girl’s Guide to Surviving Sexual Slavery,” had the audience hushed in silence and disbelief.
“Rule number one. Get over that ‘girl thing’ that ‘this could never happen to me,’” began Poett, who later finished with the last rule: “Rule number eight. No one can take anything from you, if you do not give it to them.” The crowd then roared with applause as she walked off the stage.
At the remainder of the event, director Valerie Dohrer, stage manager Chelsea Hunt and the cast welcomed questions from the audience.
Some spectators were alarmed when they were told that each monologue was based on a true story, with the exception of two monologues written by Drew University students.
Others were fascinated to find out that the event had been planned since November, but casting, auditions and rehearsals were only done in the past two weeks.
The trip from FDU to Drew was organized by Professor Sarah Crabtree of the history department, as well as resident assistants from the College at Florham.
The performance was produced by the Drew University Feminist Union. All proceeds from the show went towards bettering the situation of women in Haiti.