Vagina Monologues relevant now more than ever

Gabrielle Lenger

In light of recent events on Augustana’s campus, the Vagina Monologues are relevant now more than ever.

The theatre fraternity, Alpha Psi Omega, is hosting their annual Vagina Monologues performance in Brunner Theatre Center at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 28, 29, and March 1.

The performance is a collection of monologues all written by Eve Ensler. They explore body image, reproduction, anatomy, consensual and nonconsensual sexual experiences.

Most of the monologues remain the same every year, except for a few select parts of the show that are updated every year to include current events to keep the show contemporary.

“The current climate is clearly affecting a lot of students. It’s coming at a perfect time,” junior and co-director of the monologues, Kasia Olechno, said. “I think it’s going to be really important for some people to hear some of these monologues.”

Junior Cassandra Karn is teaming up with Olechno to direct this year’s performance. They are both referred to by their cast as the “Lead Vagina Warriors.”

“It’s important for people who have been confronted with sexual assault and harassment in their life to hear support from other people and to be able to find community and hope,” Karn said. “Also for everyone else to hear these perspectives and be able to think again about how they want to stand by survivors.”

This year, Olechno and Karn have expanded performer opportunities to create more inclusivity in the cast.

The monologues will be performed by 55 students and faculty, also known as “Vagina Warriors,” who are all either vagina-owning, female-identifying or nonbinary members of the Augustana community.

Audience members do not need to fit those requirements. All people of the Augustana College and Quad Cities community are encouraged to attend any or all of the performances.

The proceeds collected from admission will be going to the Family Resources Quad Cities Rape and Sexual Assault Counseling and Advocacy Program.

The monologues are based on true experiences of real people, but they take on different meanings for each of the performers.

“It’s about taking the word ‘vagina’ and rebranding it,” first-year Vagina Warrior Lauren Clarke said. “And it’s about self-love.”

Clarke will be performing the scene “6-Year-Old Interview.” It’s a comical piece about a real 6-year-old’s comments about the vagina.

While some pieces are light-hearted, there are topics in this show that contain heavy material.

Trigger warnings will be noted on the show’s programs next to titles of specific pieces.

Certified counselors from Family Resources will have a space for any audience members to take a break from the performances.

Also in attendance of this show will be students of Augustana’s Survivor Advocacy course, PSYC-130, to assist with any audience member who is sensitive to the material.

Audience members are encouraged to wear pink, red or purple to create a comfortable, unified environment. Performers will be focused on relaying the author’s message and will be required to hold notecards to prevent any hiccups in the flow of the show.

An art raffle will also be taking place during intermission featuring work of Augie student and alumni artists.

Admission is $3 for students and $6 for nonstudents.

Alpha Psi Omega will be selling tickets in the Brew on Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

They encourage everyone to stop by with any inquiries about the show or to purchase vagina monologue themed merchandice.