On Stage

The Vagina Monologues

Sisters are doing it for themselves

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

What’s the worst word you can think of?

If it starts with a “c” and rhymes with “blunt,” you’re not alone in thinking the four-letter word can be distasteful and derogatory towards women.

I, too, was once wary of this particular linguistic unit. But after a month of uttering it more than a few times a day in an attempt to memorize my piece for upcoming performances of The Vagina Monologues, I’ve changed my mind.

In fact, my way of thinking about most phrases having to do with the intimate specifics of the female anatomy has changed during the course of rehearsals for Eve Ensler’s groundbreaking play—which was first performed in 1996 and has since morphed into a global nonprofit that has raised more than $75 million for women’s anti-violence groups.

I first realized I’d experienced an about-face when it comes to the C-word (and the V-word, among others) on a recent weekday night, when a cluster of women were gathered together in a small living room in Fairhaven for the second group read-through of the monologues.

As I looked around at the rest of the cast—who were sitting closely together on chairs and loveseats, or on the floor—I was struck by how different we all were, yet how our willingness to come together to help present The Vagina Monologues made us more alike than dissimilar.

Our youngest cast member is 20, and our oldest is 72. We spend our days doing different things—from writing for alternative newsweeklies to helping manage hotels and banks, running nonprofits, caregiving for the disabled, teaching improv, giving historical walking tours, working at volunteer centers, running eateries, enjoying retirement, and helping people die with dignity—but have at least one thing in common: On May 5 and May 8, we’ll all be onstage at the Silver Reef Casino attempting to break barriers by sharing the universal experiences of a variety of women.

The shows, which will raise funds for YWCA Bellingham (which has recently merged with the WomenCare Shelter) and Ensler’s “One Billion Rising” campaign, aren’t just meant to be seen by women. Hilarious and harrowing in turn, the eye-opening subject matter deals with everything from sex to love to childbirth, rape, genital mutilation, the search for non-accidental orgasms, to pondering what vaginas would wear—and what they would say if they could talk.

My guess is that after a few minutes of watching The Vagina Monologues, audience members will forget that they’re supposed to be uncomfortable with the content of the performance, and will settle in to enjoy the show. I’m hoping that by the time my monologue comes around, I can even get them to chime in.

ICU
More On Stage...
Ballet Blowout
A regional roundup of talent

Delci Syvertson is only 17, but she’s already been studying ballet for six years. At 18, Henry Winslow has a year more under his pointe shoes. But the two dancers have more than that in common. Both are high school seniors studying at Whatcom Community College through Running Start, as well…

more »
Kidding Around
Welcome to the School of Rock

In the movie version of School of Rock, it takes awhile for the elementary-age students in substitute teacher Dewey Finn’s class to embrace their inherent musical talents and realize they have what it takes not only to excel at playing instruments and singing, but also to share their…

more »
Smooth Jazz
Beyond the classroom at Back2Bellingham

Typically, it isn’t until graduation day has come and gone that college students see the rewards of their years of studies come to fruition.

That wasn’t the case for Teague Parker, a Western Washington University senior whose play, Smooth, Smooth Jazz, garnered him a Kennedy Center…

more »
Events
Today
Ski to Sea Book Sale

10:00am|Bellingham Public Library

BC Morgan Horse Show

9:00am| Northwest Washington Fairgrounds

What-A-Sho!

7:00pm|Bellingham High School

Julius Caesar

7:30pm|Miller Hall

Twelfth Night

7:30pm|Philip Tarro Theatre

Wild Things

9:30am|Cornwall Park

Seconds Sale

10:00am|Good Earth Pottery

Seaweed Beach Ramble

10:00am|Living Earth Herbs

Book Trailers

12:30pm|Ferndale Library

Valley writers

1:00pm|South Whatcom Library

Sin & Gin Tours

4:00pm|Whatcom County Tourism

Food Not Bombs

4:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Ski to Sea Block Party

5:00pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

School of Rock

7:00pm|BAAY Theatre

WWU Orchestra

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center Concert Hall

Genre Legends

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1
Tomorrow
Ski to Sea Book Sale

10:00am|Bellingham Public Library

BC Morgan Horse Show

9:00am| Northwest Washington Fairgrounds

Twelfth Night

7:30pm|Philip Tarro Theatre

Julius Caesar

7:30pm|Miller Hall

Sin & Gin Tours

4:00pm|Whatcom County Tourism

School of Rock

7:00pm|BAAY Theatre

Genre Legends

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Hall

Anacortes Farmers Market

9:00am|Depot Arts Center

Mount Vernon Farmers Market

9:00am|Riverfront Plaza

Lummi Island Artists Studio Tour

10:00am|Lummi Island

Boating Center Open

10:00am|Community Boating Center

Sumas Writers Group

10:00am|Sumas Library

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Low Tide Picnic

11:30am|Marine Park

Stones Throw Block Party

12:00pm|Stones Throw Brewery

Blossomtime Parade

12:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Project Connection

1:00pm|East Whatcom Regional Resource Center

We Are WWU

6:00pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

Salsa Night

9:30pm|Cafe Rumba

Trove Village Books
Sunday
BC Morgan Horse Show

9:00am| Northwest Washington Fairgrounds

Twelfth Night

7:30pm|Philip Tarro Theatre

School of Rock

7:00pm|BAAY Theatre

Boating Center Open

10:00am|Community Boating Center

Back to the basics

7:00am

Ski to Sea Race

7:00am|Mt. Baker to Bellingham Bay

Rabbit Ride

8:00am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Fairhaven Festival

12:00pm|Historic Fairhaven

Images of Resilience Farewell

12:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Lightcatcher Building

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

1:00pm|Lincoln Theatre

Audubon at the Museum

2:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Art of Jazz

4:00pm|Majestic

see our complete calendar »

Lester and Hyldahl Village Books Bellingham Farmer’s Market Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Northwood Steak and Crab Trove