Arts theater review

MIT Stop Our Silence presents The Vagina Monologues

Eve Ensler’s play on womanhood and empowerment gets an MIT twist

Vagina Monologues
MIT Stop Our Silence
Stata Center 
Feb. 17-19, 2017

Directors: Rose Robb ’17, Lisa Lozano ’17, Leigh-Ana Rossitto ’18, Patricia Dominguez ’17

Cast: Friederike Buck ’18 , Renee Bell G, Lauren Schexnayder ’20, Emily Mu ’19, Maya Roy ’20, Allison Tam ’19, Chris Sacha ’19, Kali Rosendo ’17, Yuliya Klochan ’18, Rachel Katz ’17, Chantal Acacio ’18, Sasha Rickard ’18, Marian Heman-Ackah ’17, Arianna Smith ’13, Alyda Huerta ’19, Maddy Abrahams ’20, Alexa Jan ’19, Ayomide Fatunde ’18, Dana Vigue ’17, Caroline Walsh ’17, Judy Wang ’19, Mae Dotan ’19, Meghan Reisenauer ’19

The Vagina Monologues began with a lively discussion of what vaginas are called in different majors.

“In course 6, they call it the ‘Big O’.”

“In course 12, they call it the ‘black hole.’”

The show was a series of monologues by women discussing their vaginas. This particular performance was an adaptation of Eve Ensler’s original play, which was created using interviews with 200 women.  

Though each actress related events in first person, the events had happened to other women, not to themselves (the stories were collected from interviews by Eve Ensler). The acting, however, made the personal anecdotes come alive.

Some stories were personal and emotional — for example, a story of a husband cheating “because” his wife refused to shave.

Other stories were traumatic. One monologue depicted a woman being raped by soldiers who took  turns for seven days and shoved foreign objects such as broomsticks and rifles inside her. Another described female genital mutilation. Yet another described violence against transgender women.

Yet other stories were laugh-out-loud hilarious. One actress described her experience seeing her vagina for the first time: “Up until this point, everything I knew about my vagina was based on hearsay or invention. I’d never looked at the thing!”  

A common theme was the incredible lack of willingness to talk about vaginas and education about everything they do. One actress put on an impeccable “conservative grandmother” impression, as she refused to talk about her “down there” to her therapist.

Many tried to put beauty into the things we don’t think of as beautiful. When talking about periods, one actress declared that “I like the drops that drop into the toilet — like paint.”

The acting was energetic and emotional — I can only imagine how incredibly difficult it must be to get up in front of a crowd of a hundred strangers and talk about the most intimate parts of yourself.

One overall theme was empowerment. As one actress put it, “My short skirt, believe it or not, has nothing to do with you.”

Each actress incorporated her own personality and quirks into the monologue — so I’d imagine it would be greatly different each time MIT presents it. Next year, I’d recommend going — Stop Our Silence puts on the show yearly, and this year marked the 16th production. 

All proceeds from the performance go to benefit Incest Resources, a volunteer organization founded for survivors for childhood sexual abuse.