The Majestic Theatre will be hosting an upcoming presentation of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues as a part of this year’s V-Day campaign “One Billion Rising For Justice”. V-Day is an international activist movement that uses performances such as The Vagina Monologues to combat violence against women around the world. So far they’ve raised over $100 million for women’s charities worldwide.
The Corvallis performance will benefit the Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence (CARDV). This year’s campaign focuses on encouraging women survivors of violence in their communities to speak out in places where justice should be served: courthouses, police stations, military courts, embassies, and other gathering places where women deserve to feel safe.
The Vagina Monologues is a presentation of monologues and short scenes focused around a variety of experiences of women and their sexuality. Funny, sad, and a little bit raunchy, the play has been performed thousands of times around the world and tries to encapsulate the female experience from many angles. Veteran performers Jessica King and Becky Evans direct this production; King having also co-directed the show before. “I’d like the Corvallis audience to take from this production that we shouldn’t be ashamed about our bodies, who we are as people, our experiences or desires. Within each monologue I believe that there’s an experience or an idea everyone can relate with, and I can’t wait to share this with our audience,” King says.
With a cast of 15 local women, the show draws in performers from all walks of life. “Everyone we work with had a different path that brought them to the Vagina Monologues. For some it is deeply personal and/or political, for others it is happenstance, and others still are looking to meet people or to stretch and grow,” said Evans, who noted the performance hasn’t been done here in several years.
Like many college towns, Corvallis struggles with issues of rape and domestic violence on a large scale relative to our population. In 2012 the city had 68 arrests related to rape or sexual offenses, and according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), about 60% of rapes go unreported. OSU also indicates they had 12 reports of “forcible sex offenses” in 2012; it is not indicated if these are included in the city’s results. While these numbers may not seem particularly high to some, CARDV’s fall newsletter indicated a 41% increase in services requested on their hotline over the last year. In 2012 CARDV also helped 762 individuals navigate the legal system, provided hospital advocacy to 71 individuals, and sheltered 97 adults and 70 children who were in need of safe living arrangements.
As a part of this community, CARDV has goals that are in tune with the message of VDAY: support and love for women. Becky Evans hopes that the Corvallis community sees the greater meaning in this production, commenting that “the spotlight monologues encourage us to enjoy the unity and the lightness of dance and love, while critically examining issues like sexual assault, colonization, and war. They challenge us to be inclusive of all people, rather than causing more hurt by perpetuating divisions among us. And we can come together in ways that are joyous and funny while also being there for each other in our hurts.”
The Vagina Monologues will be staged at the Majestic Theatre on Feb. 21 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 22 at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Part of the International V-Day Events. Tickets are $12 general admission, $8 for students/seniors/veterans and may be purchased/reserved by phoning (541) 738-7469 or visiting www.majestic.org.
by Candy Smith