15 Years of 'The Vagina Monologues' at Bowdoin

Story posted April 04, 2012

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Last weekend, a cast of women in dramatic black and red performed this year’s presentation of The Vagina Monologues, an annual event that began at Bowdoin 15 years ago.

“People love The Vagina Monologues; it’s such a tradition here,” co-director Jay Greene ’13 says. “We sell out every year.”

The Vagina Monologues was written as a series of scripts by playwright Eve Ensler in 1994 to communicate the many emotions, from humor to anguish, women have about their bodies and sexual assault. The show became immensely popular and precipitated the founding of V-Day, a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls around the world.

V-Day encourages theater groups around the world to preform yearly stagings of The Vagina Monologues to help raise money for anti-violence programs. Proceeds from Bowdoin’s weekend performances of The Vagina Monologues went to the nonprofit Sexual Assault Support Services of Midcoast Maine, and to support the work of V-Day in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti and New Orleans.

This year’s cast included 33 women. In the past, the show has attracted as many as 90 female students, but the directors wanted a smaller crew this year to divvy up the 18 monologues among them. Everyone who tries out is accepted, Greene says.

“Some people do it because of experiences in their past; others do it to connect with other women and get involved with a new student group,” she explains. “I did it to bond with people who are passionate about women’s rights but whom I haven’t gotten to meet through my activism on campus.”

Emily Ausubel ’13 directed this year’s show with Greene, following in her older sister Anna's footsteps, who directed the show when she was a student here and introduced her sister to the V-Day club. The Women's Resource Center advises the production.

Emily Ausubel says the show brings a dynamic, diverse group of students together. “It’s not about the acting, although we do have a great group this year. It’s about the cause. Women in the show feel like they’re part of this movement,” she says. “And it brings a new conversation to the entire Bowdoin community. There’s a lot of programing around sexual assault, but this is a different approach to it.”

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