Combining feminism and theatre for a good cause

Vaginas are not typically the topic of many conversations, let alone entire events. However, “The Vagina Monologues” has become one of the most looked forward to events at colleges across the United States. The play was originally performed in 1994 off Broadway and was written by activist Eve Ensler. The play consists of a series of monologues, both comedic and dramatic, that cover topics ranging from pubic hair to orgasms to rape and sexual violence.
 Madi Anderson, a junior at Sonoma State University, directed this year’s performance. She welcomed the audience with a speech where she got a little choked up.
“I am the woman that I want to be,” said Anderson.
She informed the audience the production was entirely student-run and all of the proceeds would go to Verity, Sonoma County’s Rape and Crisis Center.
Anderson wants nothing more than to make sure women know they have a safe place to be who they are in a loving environment.
“If I wasn’t the director I’d have a lot more free time in my life, but my heart would be a lot less full,” said Anderson. In the lobby of the Cooperage were various booths the audience could check out before the show started.
 One of the booths was occupied by Verity. The company’s prevention manager, Kristen Bricker, was there to give helpful information about what it is they do.
“We provide counseling, support groups, and a 24-hour crisis line. We also work towards youth prevention, which is the department I am a part of,” Bricker said.
Verity has been around since 1974 and is the only center of its kind in the Sonoma area.
 Another booth that grabbed people’s attention was Spice, a sensuality boutique. Spice is all about sex positivity and promoting a safe and healthy sex life. Kris Hanks, the manager, was passing out coupons and free condoms.
“I was in the Vagina Monologues last year at the junior college and now I try to help out as much as I can,” said Hanks.
The show started with the blasting of “Formation” by Beyoncé and the participants dancing throughout the aisles and up onto the stage. The audience clapped and danced along with them.
The first monologue set the tone, and addressed how forbidden and taboo the subject of vaginas are, comparing them to the Bermuda Triangle.
“Flood” was the name of one of the monologues that was performed from the perspective of a 72-year-old woman by junior Alix Parkhurst.
“It’s a part of the house, but nobody thinks about it,” Parkhurst said.
This piece reflected the story of a woman who was so embarrassed by something that happened on a date as a teenager that she has not dated since.
Sophomore Simritt Jawanda performed a “Happy Vagina Fact,” where she revealed that the clitoris has over 8,000 nerve endings–which is twice that of the penis.
“Why do you need a hand-gun, when you can have a semi-automatic?” Jawanda said.       
Some of the monologues focused on more serious topics. ‘Trans’ They Beat the Girl Out of My Boy… Or So They Tried” was performed by five different actors.
Sophomores Alejandra Martinez, Harper Tadross, Jasmin Lewis, Destiny Rawdon and Lacie Patterson all performed.
This piece reminded the audience that not all women are born with vaginas and that it’s important to accept everyone, no matter their identity.
There was also the “Not So Happy Fact” performed by junior Analicia Garcia. This piece brought a hush to the room as she described the horrors of genital mutilation that happens to women across nations.
Another piece that had the audience captured was “The Little Coochi Snorcher
“That Could” performed by sophomore Kristen Veira. It explained a series of memories of a young girl that included being raped by her father’s friend, and then moved into the first time she had sex with a woman.
The piece was powerful and touched many different challenging topics.
Overall there were 26 performances, each one different and unique.