Curtain Call: The Vagina Monologues; A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant, and a Prayer; The V-SpotLight Hour
What: A Transpoetic V-Day / A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant, and a Prayer / The Vagina Monologues / The V-SpotLight Hour and V-Week Closing Celebration (live theater / performance art)
When: 2011-02-15 - 2011-02-20
Eve Ensler's groundbreaking show The Vagina Monologues has turned into a worldwide movement to which the women of Southern Illinois will contribute this week. V-Week, a series of events that celebrates The Vagina Monologues and the message of ending violence against women, will take place February 15 through February 20 at various locations. Proceeds will support the Women's Center.
"To start off on Monday, on Valentine's Day, is A Transpoetic V-Day-- it's at the Global Gourmet," Meggie Mapes, the outreach coordinator for this year's V-Week, told Nightlife. "That's the kind of open mic night that's encouraging more women to participate and [is focused] on some themes that are surrounding V-Week but not necessarily on those themes. I think, really, the attempt is to get more community members involved instead of just having students."
Numerous organizations give information and raise money and awareness throughout V-Week. Southern Illinois Organizations Take a Stand Against Gender Violence activities Tuesday, February 15 at 7:30 p.m. in SIU's Davies Gym will involve many of these groups.
"These are organizations that come in to participate in the V-Week," Mapes said. "Some of them are on-campus and some of them are not on campus, so we actually have organizations that come up from other campuses if we don't have that type of organization at SIU in order to participate.
"That's also the night where anyone who wants to have a table outside The Vagina Monologues, they kind of have to come and have a dialogue mostly about what are the connections between what the organization wants that's related or helps with solving issues about domestic violence or sexual assault, why it is important to think about those things in order for them to figure out what kind of appropriate materials they should bring with them on the nights of the production," Mapes added. "A lot of these organizations can contribute to issues about domestic violence and gender violence, so maybe we should have a discussion with them about how they can be involved and how to increase awareness around those [issues] instead of just having a table outside of the production."
Another interesting event during the week is held Wednesday, February 16 at 7:30 p.m. in the Student Health Center Auditorium-- the Progressive Masculinities Mentors' V-Week Dialogue.
"I believe this is just an invitation to allow lots of people that are already involved in the mentors program to talk about men's role within the themes about V-Week, and asking people to have an open dialogue within that setting: What can men also do to contribute to decreasing gender violence?" Mapes said.
One favorite V-Week event is the performance of A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant, and a Prayer, which takes place Thursday, February 17 at 7:30 p.m. in the Marion Kleinau Theatre on the second floor of the SIU Communications Building.
Author Eve Ensler has placed stipulations on productions of The Vagina Monologues. In order to acquire the rights for free, proceeds must help end violence against women, the production must be women-only, and the cast needs to rotate on a regular basis so that the same women are not performing the same monologues every year. No edits are allowed to the script.
"If we break those rules, we won't get rights to The Vagina Monologues anymore," Mapes said.
These stipulations, however, have not been placed on A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant, and a Prayer.
"Both men and women are involved in [A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant ,and a Prayer]," Mapes said. "There are a lot more rules surrounding what they can do in staging [The Vagina Monologues], whereas [A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant, and a Prayer] has a little bit more flexibility in what things they can include and don't include. In terms of staging, they have the ability to stage the monologues in such a way that they can speak to one another. I also don't think that one person has to perform one monologue in [A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant, and a Prayer], so those monologues can be split up between different people."
The highlight of the week is, of course, the performance of the piece that started the movement, The Vagina Monologues, which will run Friday and Saturday, February 18 and 19 in McLeod Theatre in the SIU Communications Building.
The closing celebration and spotlight hour of original performances will take place Sunday, February 20 at 7:30 p.m. at the Varsity Center for the Arts.
As outreach director, Mapes is in charge of recruiting volunteers and organizing the work done by them. In addition to the cast of the shows, there are many, many volunteers who help throughout the week.
"There's possibly even more [volunteers than thirty or forty]," Mapes said. "We started this process in September of last year, and, you know, sometimes people get busy and can't necessarily stay, but there was around fifteen people at the initial meeting just to help. From there, we've gained a lot of other volunteers to do just kind of small work now that it has gotten closer to V-Week. They chalk the campus during that week, hand out posters, go to businesses, and talk about fundraising with local businesses."
In past years, many volunteers did double duty as both actors or directors, plus volunteering to help make the events successful. This year, while some people still do both, most volunteers are not involved in the productions-- they just want to help out.
With so many events during the week, there is a lot about which to be excited.
"I've seen The Vagina Monologues multiple times, and I really, really love it," Mapes said. "I'm always excited about the actual performances. I'm really excited about the Transpoetic happening, because I am really hoping that a lot of community members come, and if they don't participate, they can at least come and watch. You kind of see the dynamic between students, community members, and younger individuals...." Mapes said.
Tickets for The Vagina Monologues are on sale now for $10. Purchase advance tickets at the Women's Center or the Student Center Central Ticket Office. Tickets for A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant, and a Prayer are not available in advance, but can be purchased at the door for $5. The final V-SpotLight Hour and V-Week Closing Celebration at the Varsity is free and open to the public.
who: V-Week Committee
what: A Transpoetic V-Day / A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant, and a Prayer / The Vagina Monologues / The V-SpotLight Hour and V-Week Closing Celebration (live theater / performance art)
where: various locations
when: February 15 through February 20