Female students will intersect femininity and ethnicity in a pair of performances centered on the empowerment of women.
“The Vagina Monologues,” first performed at Ohio Wesleyan University in 2006, will be joined by Yetta Young’s “Butterfly Confessions” in the 2014 show.
Auditions for both performances were held this past weekend in Smith Hall and were open to all self-identified female students.
“The Vagina Monologues,” which is a play by Eve Ensler, is formatted into a series of monologues that tell women’s stories and experiences.
The pieces discuss empowerment, sexual violence, positive sex, and seeking justice and healing for women who are survivors of sexual violence.
“Butterfly Confessions” is similar to “Monologues,” but explores the relationship between womanhood and ethnicity. As Young describes in her LinkedIn profile, “‘Butterfly Confessions’ is a love letter to women and girls of color that reveal heartfelt emotions about intimacy, sexual responsibility and overcoming adversity. Audiences will be taken from girlhood to womanhood as “Butterfly Confessions” airs our dirty laundry.”
Sophomore Kaila Johnson auditioned for a part in the performance, and plans to be as involved as possible in the show.
“I am very eager and excited about the fact that we have brought (“Confessions”) to OWU,” said Johnson.
“I think that the women of color on this campus often get left out when it comes to discussions about the different issues and problems that exist in today’s world.”
Senior Claire Hackett said “Confessions” was added to expand the movement to those not reached by “Monologues.”
“Women of color should have a space where their voices can be heard and everyone else can listen,” Hackett said.
Echoing Hackett’s statement, junior Brianna Robinson said the event developed as a result of “a group of women who are passionate about the voices of all women being heard.”
“Confessions” discuss topics such as colorism, sexuality, AIDS, and self-love. The directors for the performance include Robinson, Nola Johnson, Khristina Gardner, Kaila Johnson and Felicia Rose.
In last year’s Monologues show, Robinson performed “My Angry Vagina.”
She also read a piece titled “Respect” by activist Kimberly Crenshaw that echoes many of the same themes as “Confessions.”
“The Vagina Monologues” co-directors Hackett, senior Margaret Knecht, and junior Zoe Crankshaw conducted their auditions separately in order to determine each candidate’s comfort level with various subject materials.
“It was very stress-free,” said sophomore Claudia Bauman, referring to her audition process. Last year, Bauman read the monologue “My Vagina Was My Village.”
“My Vagina Was My Village” describes the experiences of Bosnian women who survived wartime rape in the early 1990s.
“From the moment I picked up (“The Vagina Monologues”) I fell in love with it,” Bauman said.
“I love reading women’s stories, the good and the bad, from around the world, which in turn, opens my mind to hardships and to understanding others.”