As senior Colleen Brague reflected on her past two years as a performer for The Vagina Monologues, a peaceful smile spread across her face. As a veteran of the show, Brague has been through it all. She’s been through the stresses and anxiety of performing, but in the end, the show is so much more than stress and nerves.
“The Monologues for me, the only way I can describe it, is a breath of fresh air,” Brague stated. “Getting together with that many women in one room, one would expect there to be a lot of drama, and mind you there is to some extent, but it’s not about that, and it’s not even about the performance itself. It’s about the experiences that we all undergo throughout the process.”
The Vagina Monologues are a variety of monologues that writer and performer Eve Ensler put together in 1996. The show covers topics such as masturbation, sex, genital mutilation and menstruation. Some monologues are extremely comical and witty, while others tackle serious, real life issues that many women in our society are facing today.
Springfield College has been putting on performances of The Vagina Monologues for the past seven years now, and each year brings its own unique feel to it. This year the show was held March 7-9.
“The show itself has come so far in the past four years,” four-year veteran and senior Catie LeBlanc explained.
This past year, around 45 girls participated in the production. The show also moved location to its new home in Judd a few years back, which was much needed.
“My freshman year we had our performance in the Union in the Dodge [Ball]room and it was very cramped and just not ideal. Getting Judd was really nice,” explained LeBlanc.
Both Brague and LeBlanc have watched The Monologues transform into the beautiful production it is today, and both agree that doing the show for them turned into an addiction.
“I started because my NSO leader my freshman year was the director and kind of recruited some of her little people,” LeBlanc said. “After that, the connection everyone makes at the end, I just had to go back and do it again. It’s been an addiction ever since.”
Brague feels the same way.
“I did it my first time my sophomore year, and I was kind of dragged to it,” Brague said with a chuckle. “But I also saw them being performed freshman year, and I just thought, ‘Wow, I really have to get up on that stage.’ The message that these women are spreading is just so great that I had to be a part of it.”
After being sucked into The Monologues’ bubble, that is when the true beauty of the whole production shines through. While The Monologues are a production, the message and meaning behind them are what brings the entire thing together.
Each year Ensler adds a monologue to the production on current events or issues women in our society are facing today. This year Ensler’s theme was “One Billion Rising.” The spotlight monologue was performed by Brague and two other performers, senior Ashley Ryan and graduate student Sarah-Kate Sherwood.
“The spotlight was more or less on getting the message out that violence is happening everywhere. It’s going to keep happening, but unless we do something and people are aware of it, it’s just going to keep getting bigger and bigger. ‘One Billion Rising’ is just about all of those women in the world. Even those who haven’t [experienced] violence know that it’s there. We’re standing up for it,” Brague explained.
“One in three women in their lifetime will experience violence or something along those lines, which end up being one billion women in the world [that] will experience all of this,” LeBlanc explained. “It’s kind of to bring light and unity to world issues, and to have everyone take a stand on not letting violence happen.”
Besides the spotlight monologue performed by Brague, Ryan and Sherwood, the group also showed a video that was titled “One Billion Rising” that featured women all over the world dealing with certain acts of violence and watching them persevere through, which went along with the theme well.
Sticking with the theme, the majority of the ticket and T-shirt proceeds went to Annie’s House, a Springfield organization that helps homeless women transition back into normal housing establishments.
With another successful performance under their belts, the girls brought the performance and message together to create a weekend full of strength and unity.
“I think it’s wonderful,” LeBlanc said. “I think everyone should experience it once if they can. Either seeing it or being part of the cast.”
“[The performances are] about affecting change even [in] the smallest way, and if I can do that just by standing on stage and sharing someone else’s story, and also sharing my own, then that’s awesome,” Brague said with a smile.