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Vagina Monologues Ready to Spread Message

Terrence Payne

Sports Editor

On Monday night, Judd Gymnasium as noticeably dif­ferent. The typically empty historic gym was packed with seats and a large stage that sat right in front of the entrance. On Tuesday night, the gymna­sium got more crowded with lights and curtains added to the mix.

The new objects filling Judd are a silent reminder. It’s an important week for 43 Spring­field College women, who take the stage as part of their pro­duction of Eve Ensler’s iconic play, The Vagina Monologues. On Thursday night this an­nual Springfield College event is sponsored by Students Against Violence Everywhere (S.A.V.E.).

Thursday night is a culmi­nation of eight months of hard work and dedication.

“Two weeks ago was prob­ably more hectic for us, getting all of the chairs and the lights taken care of,” said junior Cat­ie LeBlanc, who is one of the show’s three directors. “This week is more just putting ev­erything together.”

LeBlanc, along with fellow junior Lainnie Emond and sec­ond-year graduate student Jess Charette, began putting the show together last May.

“It really starts off after winter break with rehearsals,” said Charette. “We do have some rehearsals before, but [it’s] more getting to know each other. We really start the work right after winter break.

“It’s equally as much about preparing for the show as it is getting to know each other as a group of women and building a community and a connection with one another.”

According to the play’s directors, this is the school’s sixth year performing The Va­gina Monologues. Each year, the play, on each of the three performance days, gets tremen­dous attendance, but that is a distant second to the bonds the performers make and the mes­sages they all deliver.

“A lot of people are attract­ed to The Vagina Monologues because it’s one of the few things that this campus does to support women on cam­pus,” said Charette. “Many of us have had tragic experiences and can really relate to some of the monologues, which bring us together and makes it more powerful for us. It’s really lib­erating.”

“[The shows’] overall mes­sage of empowering yourself, and all this stuff happens that no one knows about are the rea­sons I do [it],” said LeBlanc.

The play has mandatory monologues that have to be a part of each performance. Then there are optional mono­logues that can be put into the play. Each year at Springfield, the cast has at least one mem­ber write an original piece and perform it. This year, three cast members co-wrote a piece and will perform it Thursday.

Although The Vagina Monologues follows a strict order, this cast is still able to make this year’s ver­sion of the play memorable. “I feel like this year we want­ed to concentrate more on each girl trying to find something out of the monologue,” said LeBlanc, an athletic training major, “whether it’s self-em­powerment or accepting what they have gone through.”

The cast was finalized dur­ing the first semester and like always, a steady group of re­turners and newcomers make up the 2012 ensemble.

Vanessa Rosario, who is currently a graduate student, is now in her third year perform­ing in the production.

Rosario, a member of the track and field team, had friends who also took part in it and when she decided to join three years ago, she quickly learned how impactful The Va­gina Monologues can be.

“As I’ve learned the mean­ing, I’ve joined it for different reasons,” said Rosario.

Through her experiences on stage, she has used the mes­sage from the play to impact those closest to her.

“My sister was physically abused by her boyfriend and she’s always felt the need to have a man around, so joining this and hearing my message would be for her,” said Rosario, who had her sister in atten­dance last year.

Freshman Sarah Higgins is the only first-year member of the 2012 rendition of The Va­gina Monologues, but she has been impacted much longer.

Higgins remembers watch­ing her sister Katelyn perform during her time at Springfield College. Instantaneously, Hig­gins knew she would one day take part in this herself.

“My first time coming here, it made a huge impact on me,” said Higgins, a health studies major. “Just hearing the mes­sage for the first time hit me re­ally hard, and I knew that from right there I wanted to do this as well.”

Thursday night will be the first time Higgins takes part in any sort of production, in high school, Higgins was a member of “the pit.” She played music but never performed on stage.

“I’m actually really nervous [after] walking in [Monday] and seeing the chairs and the stage for the first time,” said Higgins. “I kind of had a heart attack.”

To make matters more in­teresting, Higgins’ monologue requires her to speak in an English accent the entire time.

Whether Higgins’ or any of the cast members’ perfor­mances are Broadway-worthy or not is irrelevant in this set­ting.

“It’s not so much that you’re performing, you’re more telling a story,” said LeBlanc. “It’s not about how dramatic you are, it’s about how well you get your message across.”

Even before the curtains draw, the cast will join one last time, hours before the play be­gins, to share in a moment be­fore they impact those in the same way they have been im­pacted.

“Each year the night before the show impacts the most,” said Rosario. “That’s when ev­eryone shares a personal story on why they’re a part of this and it creates a really special bond between females.”

The preshow ritual can also take less of a serious tone and more of a relaxing experience.

“We get there two hours be­fore we even open,” said Emond, who is in her second year in the play, first as a director. “We do a lot of cast bonding and sing crazy vagina songs. It’s awe­some.”

Typically, The Vagina Monologues sell out and this year will be no different. Thursday, Friday and Satur­day’s showings all begin at 7 p.m. in Judd Gymnasium.

Terrence Payne may be reached at

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