Vagina was printed all over Isla Vista this weekend to promote the midweek opening of a play.
In honor of V-Day, a worldwide movement on Feb. 14 to end violence against females, 13 UCSB students will present "The Vagina Monologues" Wednesday night in I.V. Theater. The 15 short plays, which all deal with the vagina as a theme, will be presented at 270 colleges in the United States this week as part of V-Day’s College Initiative movement, with all proceeds going to groups that combat violence. I.V.’s performances will benefit the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center and Shelter Services for People.
Sarah Dalton, the play’s director and an undeclared sophomore, said she decided to bring the "The Vagina Monologues" to UCSB after hearing of V-Day and reading the play in December.
"The play was positively the most powerful thing I had ever read – I was absolutely inspired," she said. "I love theater and I consider myself an avid feminist, and I try to do what I can to educate people and get the word out about what’s happening. People don’t know that halfway around the world, women are being killed because their father or husband thinks they’re having sex."
I.V.’s installment of "The Vagina Monologues" stars 11 female UCSB students along with Dalton. The Associated Students Women’s Commission and Take Back the Night are the primary sponsors, and Carol Mosely, Women’s Center rape prevention education coordinator, is also helping with the event, Dalton said.
"There are about 15 monologues, and all of them have a vagina theme. They range from a first period and how it felt, to a Bosnian war rape victim and her story and the atrocities put on her by the soldiers," Dalton said.
V-Day is a project of the Tides Foundation, an organization which funds grants for national and international nonprofit groups, including those that work with women’s empowerment issues. Eve Ensle, "The Vagina Monologues" author, established the organization with a group of female activists and first produced the play in New York City in 1998. The College Initiative, which encourages campuses to participate in the movement by producing "The Vagina Monologues" or other plays, was also created that year.
Senior English and dramatic arts major Rebecca Chapman, who saw the show at the Cannon Theater in Beverly Hills on Saturday, said she was amazed by the audience’s response to the monologues.
"I was proud to be in the audience, and it accomplished more than I thought it would," she said. "At one point, the older, wealthier women – who I usually associate as more conservative – everyone in the theater, from their 20s to their 80s, was throwing up their fists and yelling ‘Cunt! Cunt!’ It was really neat."
Jeffery Bucholtz, the play’s assistant director and member of Men Against Rape and Students Stopping Rape, said he saw the show as an opportunity to explore a part of society which is not usually addressed.
"I believe in what the show is. It’s a great voice for women and feminism – the idea that men and women are comfortable talking about dicks and penises, and this allows women to in the same way," he said. "I’ve been in awe of the women performing in the show. They’re so powerful and incredible."
The play begins at 7 p.m. tomorrow in I.V. Theater. Admission is free, but donations are encouraged. For more information on V-Day and the V-Day fund, go to www.vday.org.