Women’s Voices Take Center Stage

By Diana Sanchez
Elm Staff Writer

At a time when the #MeToo movement is reaching a peak, Tya Pope, assistant director of Intercultural Affairs and coordinator for the George’s Brigade scholarship program, is directing a production of “The Vagina Monologues” at Washington College.

Alongside Pope is co-director sophomore Stephaney Wilson, who hopes to add more students to help with the logistics and execution of the play.

Pope said she wanted to put on this show because, “It just has a really powerful message. One of the things that makes it really powerful is just the timing of everything.”

The play comes in the midst of a movement for women’s rights, particularly over their bodies in cases such as the sexual assault scandals that have rocked the movie industry, and more recently with disgraced U.S. Olympic gymnastics team doctor Lawrence Nassar.

The play, written by Eve Ensler, first debuted in 1996. It is comprised of a series of detailed monologues that touch on issues such as body image and sex. With each production of the play, 90 percent of the proceeds go to a local charitable organization.

For this year’s production, the charity of choice is the House of Ruth, which is a domestic violence organization based in Washington, D.C.

On the first day of auditions, freshman Kathryn Bedard decided to try out because of the message of female empowerment.

“I watched one person perform the ‘My Angry Vagina’ thing and I was like, ‘This is really cool.’ When I got there I was like, ‘OK, I have the time, I think I can do this,’ so that’s why I joined,” she said.

The audition process was unlike one for a play. Students had to read from the full script and also from a couple of selections that Pope had chosen, such as one that involved simulating sex sounds on stage.

“She had me read from the full monologue, which included more than just the sounds and I really liked that one cause the first two sentences were like: ‘I love vaginas, I love women,’ and I am like ‘Oh, me too’,” Bedard said.

“It’s not supposed to be majorly rehearsed because it’s not your story you’re telling; you’re telling someone else’s story,” Pope said.

This means that performers will be seen reading from cards on stage.

The message that is to be taken away from “The Vagina Monologues” is one of empowerment and the feeling of autonomy.

“Women are entitled to make the rules on how their bodies are used, when their bodies are used, what their bodies are used for, and that they are pretty amazing,” Pope said.

The show will be performed at the Norman James Theater  on Feb. 9, 10, and 14 at 8 p.m.

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