Empowering stories bond onstage actresses

Cast members discuss what it means to be part of the Vagina Monologues


The all-female cast closed Friday’s performance standing together against violence towards women. © 2014 Katy Macek

Story by Katy Macek, Copy Editor

More than 30 girls from many majors and backgrounds performed in the annual Vagina Monologues in Schofield Auditorium at UW-Eau Claire on Feb. 21 and 22.

The production was put on by the V-Day Campaign, a national organization working to end violence against women, which has a chapter at Eau Claire.

Sophomore Anna Schwanebeck, said she decided to join the performance because she enjoys theatre and because it’s a good way to get women to appreciate who they are.

“I think it’s really important to spread vagina love and body love and this is a way even for me to do that for myself,” she said.

Senior kinesiology major Grace Glor has been active in the production for the past two years. She said theatre is tough, but it’s also her favorite part because it’s an eye-opening experience for the audience.

She said the Vagina Monologues are a tool for helping people understand the violence women face every day in a fun and useful way.

Cast members Ashley Duffy, Anna Schwanebeck and ShariAnn Katterhagen during intermission Friday. © 2014 Katy Macek
Cast members Ashley Duffy, Anna Schwanebeck and ShariAnn Katterhagen during intermission Friday. © 2014 Katy Macek

Freshman Kessa Albright said online clips didn’t do the show justice —the show is informative with a touch of humor. She said women aren’t the only group who could benefit from seeing it.

“I think that everybody who has an opportunity to see this definitely should,” she said. “Even if they don’t consider themselves a feminist, it’s a really cool show.”

The best thing about being a cast member, besides supporting a good cause and trumpeting downplayed issues, are the bonds the all-female cast create backstage, freshman Sylvie White said.

“I wanted to get involved with more V-Day Campaign and feminist stuff on campus, and I saw this as a jumping in point since I didn’t really know anyone,” she said.

After the performances she said she feels close to the cast members. Her favorite part of the production was sitting backstage and talking to the girls about anything.

But White said some parts were harder than others to talk about — sexual abuse remains a tough topic.

According to the V-Day Campaign’s website, one in three women will experience some form of violence in their lifetime. That’s over one billion female violence victims worldwide.

“The hardest part for me was the end of the show when people in the audience stood up if they knew anyone who had survived sexual assault,” White said. “I did not expect that many people, and the first night I started crying because I had never seen that. It was really intense.”