HAMNA TARIQ ’20
After the success of last year’s ‘A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant and a Prayer’, the Women Gender Resource Action Center (WGRAC) on campus decided to perform The Vagina Monologues, instead of MMRP, after a few years. Trinity’s rendition of the globally recognized play was directed by Hamna Tariq ’20 with the assistance and guidance of Michelle Hendrick, an acting professor in the Theatre and Dance department. It was performed on Feb. 21 in celebration of V-Day. All proceeds collected were donated to Hartford’s women shelter, the Interval House, to help women escaping domestic violence.
V-Day is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. It aims to increase awareness of the fight to stop violence against women and girls, including rape, female genital Mutilation (FGM), incest and sex slavery. The founder of V-Day, Eve Ensler, decided to write a play on the experiences of more than 200 women around the world, to celebrate women’s sexuality and strength. The goal of this movement to liberate the word ‘Vagina’ and seek pride in it rather than fault and weakness. The Vagina Monologues has given voice to experiences and feelings not previously exposed in public. Through this production and others, V-Day has raised millions of dollars towards serving victims and survivors of gender-based violence and creating a safer, more respectful world for all.
This play is always a hit amongst Trinity students. 15 members of Trinity’s student body and faculty gave a marvelous performance reciting their respective monologues. Interestingly, because Eve Ensler didn’t want any woman-identifying person to be left out of the play due to any sort of accommodation needed, the play is not memorized. Instead it is meant to be read off of the script. Expressing someone else’s story without personalizing it makes the performance more impactful and meaningful. In addition, anyone who auditions gets a role in the play. No one is excluded.
The theme of the play this year was ‘Rise, Resist, Unite’ to emphasize the daily struggles of women around the world and highlight their audacious resistance against it. A few of the monologues dealt with heavy emotions while others were quite humorous. One wouldn’t expect an activism effort to be humorous, but this play clarifies that women can share their stories without necessarily having to feel sorry for themselves. These monologues weren’t performed in the hope of gaining sympathy and pity for oppressed women but to create awareness of their unabashed attitude against all obstacles that come their way. The message is that women can do anything- and will fight if prompted to.
This year, the play was performed in Vernon Social, an open public space to allow anyone to see it. It was widely attended by Trinity’s community as well as members from the nearby area. Crisis booths were erected for people in need of counseling if they felt triggered by any part of the play. Vagina Monologue Shirts and Vagina Pops, delicious Vagina-shaped chocolate, were sold during the play to collect proceeds for the shelter. Although there was a fee to get in, people who couldn’t afford to pay didn’t have to give in any money to watch the play. This made the play inclusive to the entire community.
Activism comes in all mediums and its pertinent to appreciate efforts to create awareness. We shouldn’t forget the struggles of our ancestors, our community and our own. Plays like this one are liberating and make one feel less alone.