Review: Vagina Monologues evokes strong emotions

Rosanna Cravens, Lamp staff

Among the things I took from this year’s performance of the Vagina Monologues was a profound sense of camaraderie. The feelings of friendship, sisterhood and unity were simply infectious.

The setting was somewhat intimate at its new location, the Hoogland Center for the Arts. Friday evening tickets were sold out and some in attendance were left without formal seating.

The preshow entertainment began with an enthralling routine by the LotusFire belly dance group. They showed the natural power and beauty that women of all body types have within themselves.

Then, Steph Mayotte of Champaign sung an exceptional cover of ‘Breathe’ by Anna Nalick. The acoustic guitar she played highlighted the raw emotion in her voice, and the mix brought goosebumps to my arms.

Possibly the best of the preshow was the poem “Black Girl,” written and recited by author and cast member Shatriya Smith. She did not hold back her anger nor her grief, and the passionate delivery added to the sense that real progress was underway.

All 13 cast members took the stage for the introduction. It was obvious that these women were more than actresses in a show together; they were a family, giving and receiving strength with one another.

The monologues were powerful, humorous, sassy and, in general, a celebration. Still, there were very distressing moments that shed light on some issues that women suffer from today.

Buffy Lael-Wolf, a nurse and child’s advocate, brought justice to a woman whose husband blamed her lack of shaving for his adulterous ways in her voicing of the monologue “Hair”.

“The Flood,” voiced by mother and retired teacher Sherry Wold, brought attention to a largely unnoticed problem in today’s society. Sex education does not necessarily tell a developing girl all she needs to know about her own anatomy. Many are ashamed of what they cannot explain, leaving girls vulnerable to the detrimental impact of misinformation.

“I Was There in The Room,” voiced by Resistor Sisterhood member Tracy Owens, remains closest to my heart. The miracle of childbirth has been watered down and demonized to the point that women across the world elect to have C-sections to escape the terrible light shed on vaginal birth.

Over all, the play was a ‘rollercoaster,’ as aptly stated by cast member and director of the play Brenda Protz, LLCC professor of speech communication. It may not have forwarded the feminist movement in the way one might have guessed; but sisterhood is, in fact, a progression of its own.

Rosanna Cravens can be reached at [email protected]