The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

    The Vagina Monologues

    Lyssa Beyer

    Picture a 70-year-old woman with a heavy Brooklyn accent:
    “Down there? I haven’t been down there since 1953. No, it had nothing to do with Eisenhower. No, No. It’s a cellar down there. It’s very damp and clammy. You don’t want to go down there, trust me.”

    This excerpt from “The Flood,” a monologue about an older woman coming to terms with talking about her vagina, will be part of senior Steph Hormig’s performance during the 10th anniversary of Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues” Wednesday and Thursday in Schofield Auditorium. This show is part of the campus’ V-Day events.

    The V-Day movement, which stands for ‘Victory, Valentine and Vagina,’ is a global non-profit organization aiming to stop violence against women and girls that distributes funds to programs that work to stop the violence.

    Ensler started the show years ago, basing the monologues on her interviews with women, and it has since been performed in theatres around the world.

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    “It’s hard living nowadays being able to say the word ‘vagina,’ ” Hormig said. “This is trying to get women together and empower women. It’s OK to say the word ‘vagina.’ ”

    The show was previously put on by Making Our School an Intercultural Community, but that organization is no longer part of the university, Hormig said.

    So for the first time at Eau Claire, V-Day, a new independent student organization, will put on the show.

    “We wanted to make a group that basically all year long tried to stop violence against women,” said Hormig, president of the V-Day campaign and producer of the show.

    The proceeds from this show will go to Bolton Refuge House, 404 Broadway St., the Center for Awareness of Sexual Assault and 10 percent will go to the foundation for Hurricane Katrina victims.

    This year, Hormig said about 70 women, mostly UW-Eau Claire students and a few staff members will perform during the 90 minute show.

    “It goes from both sides of the spectrum. It’s very funny. It’s very open about women’s issues. There are a lot of points in the show where you could cry,” Hormig said. “We talk about domestic abuse. There are stories of violence, genital mutilation and also very funny stories about ‘What would my vagina wear? What would it say?’ ”

    Despite the title, Hormig said audiences in the past have had several men in them.

    “It’s not going to be men bashing,” she said. “We usually find that the men had a wonderful time and they laughed so hard that they cried.”

    Sutherland Hall director Kirby Harless saw the show a few years ago and said he hopes to go again this year.

    “I don’t think it’s a hostile environment for men to go into,” he said. “I think it’s a good worth-while experience. It offers an opportunity to hear perspectives and voices that aren’t always heard.”

    Although, he said one skit in particular bothered him about a high school girl having an affair with her 30-year-old lesbian neighbor.

    But in general, he said it was an enjoyable show.

    V-Day treasurer sophomore Jessica Ensrude said she thinks the show is great for everyone.

    “We’re not angry women and male-bashers,” she said. “That’s a really bad misconception. It’s not a male-bashing session at all.”

    Ensrude said besides ticket sales, an art auction, which she coordinated, will take place each night at 5 p.m. before the shows outside Schofield Auditorium.

    Schools, community members and local business donated the art for the auction, which Ensrude said is a great source of revenue and way to get the community involved with the event.

    In the past, three shows took place on campus, but this year they are only allowed two.

    “We’re taking a huge hit in income,” Ensrude said. “I’d love to say I want to make over $10,000 like last year.”

    But she said their overall goal this year is about $7,000.

    “It’s so hard to describe, because it’s such a wonderful experience,” she said. “While it’s entertaining, it definitely touches on the aspect of sexual abuse. While you’re still getting the information, you’re still getting a really good show.”

    Student development and programs coordinator Paula Stuettgen said she is excited she gets to be a part of the show this year by introducing the final monologue, “I Was There in the Room.”

    “I always wanted to be in it,” she said.

    Stuettgen will introduce the monologue about giving birth by giving the perspective of the author and why she wrote the piece. Stuettgen is very happy with the cast this year.

    “I’m just incredibly impressed with the knowledge and the enthusiasm of the young women that are in the play,” she said. “They’re just amazing. So this is going to be fun. And it supports a great cause. It’s good all around as far as I can see.”

    She said she’s seen the show in the past and loves it.

    “It has uncomfortable parts. It has challenging parts. It has very sad parts and it has hysterically funny parts,” she said. “Some people have problems with saying ‘vagina’ out loud, but oh for Heaven’s sake.”

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