“I really want to reach the audience on an awareness level,” said Lauren Failla, a sophomore dramatic arts major, and one of the approximately 20 UCSB women bringing Eve Ensler’s “Vagina Monologues,” to Isla Vista Theater this weekend. “I want to touch people … I want to reach women in the audience who never speak up, make them understand that they’re not alone, that they can get help, that there are many women that can relate to.”

UCSB’s Women’s Ensemble Theater Troupe (W.E.T.T.) presents the monologues Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 7 in honor of V-Day, a worldwide movement to stop violence against women. The “Vagina Monologues,” which is also an off-Broadway show in New York, will be performed 800 times in over 20 countries this month for V-Day – which is on or around Saint Valentine’s Day – with all proceeds benefiting different groups that work to end abuse against women. Last year, the UCSB show raised about $800 from donations, which they gave to local groups like the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center. This year, they are selling tickets for $5 at the A.S. Ticket Office.

“Valentine’s Day is the holiday on which the most domestic violence occurs,” Failla said. “Eve wanted to reclaim it as V-Day – to stop violence against women and as a vagina day, because of that fact.”

The performance – returning to UCSB for the second consecutive year – will feature about 19 presentations, ranging from monologues that deal with serious issues like rape, to more lighthearted discussions about the female body. Ensler added two new monologues to the script (which she updates yearly), “My Short Skirt,” and “Under the Burka.”

This year, the actors, producers and directors involved in the monologues will all be members of W.E.T.T. The club was founded this fall with the goal of presenting artistic shows to educate UCSB and the surrounding community about violence perpetrated against women. Sarah Dalton, the UCSB student who first brought the “Vagina Monologues” to Santa Barbara, also created W.E.T.T.

“After the ‘Vagina Monologues,’ [W.E.T.T.] hopes to do an open mic night – some of the members have written poetry and lyrics,” Failla said. ”

We’re trying to spread awareness and education through art – it’s a combination of stopping violence against women with theater.”

Leah Bergner, a fifth year sociology and history major and one of the producers this year, said she was infected with Dalton’s enthusiasm after seeing the show for the first time.

“Last year Sarah was my roommate,” she said. “At first I thought she was insane for focussing all of her energy when she was supposed to be studying for midterms, but she amazed me. I was on the edge of my seat for the show.”

Failla – who said part of her interest in the show stemmed from “ties to women who have experienced some form of violence” – guaranteed each audience member would be able to relate to at least part of the show.

“All of the women have such different roles, I don’t see how we couldn’t reach everyone in the audience,” she said. “People say to me, I’m not going to the show to be lectured – it’s not. It’s theater at the same time.”

V-Day Statistics

Every 21 hours on each college campus there is a rape.

In nearly 90 percent of college rapes – both attempted and completed – the victim knew the offender.

A woman is most likely to experience an assault during her first two months at college.

One in three murdered females are killed by a partner, versus 3.6 percent of males.

In America, a woman is raped every 90 seconds, and battered every 15.

At least one in three women and girls in the world has been beaten or sexually abused in her lifetime.

One in six women in the U.S. has experienced an attempted or completed sexual assault.

Approximately one million women are stalked annually in the U.S.

Boys who witness their fathers committing violence are 10 times more likely to engage in spousal abuse in later adulthood than boys from non-violent homes.

Domestic violence occurs in approximately 25 to 33 percent of same-sex relationships.

From 1993 to 1998, women ages 16-24 experienced the highest per capita rates of intimate violence.