Student-written monologues tell of the female experience

For the past 13 years, Connecticut College students performed the well-known episodic play “The Vagina Monologues” as an annual fundraiser for Safe Futures, a shelter in southeastern Connecticut serving survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. It was one of many performances around the world staged as part of the global nonprofit movement V-Day, created by the writer of “The Vagina Monologues” to turn performances into benefits for groups working to end violence against women.

However, as student producers and directors began discussing the 2015 performance, concerns were raised about some elements of the play — first performed in 1996 — that seemed dated. They took their concerns to other students, faculty and staff.

“After discussions with the campus community, we decided that we needed a more inclusive and contemporary production that better articulates the experiences of women today,” said Bettina Weiss ’15, the show’s co-producer.

So Weiss and her production team tested the waters, reaching out to the College community for monologue submissions. When they received 34, they knew they had plenty of modern and compelling stories to tell, and selected 18 for inclusion in their new show, “As Told By Vaginas.”

“Some of the language is specific to Connecticut College, such as references to buildings on campus or our Conn vocabulary,” said Weiss. “But the content of the show itself is universal.”

That content includes body image, sexuality, sexual health, sexual assault and relationships. Tough topics, to be sure, yet beautifully told with hope and humor by writers who will remain anonymous. And their stories will live on.

“All of the monologues we collected will be kept on file for years to come to ensure that every year the show includes experiences from as many women as possible,” said Weiss. “Future directors and producers will have an ever-growing pool of stories to tell in any given year. The goal of our new production is to represent women across race, class and sexual orientation through unique but unifying voices.”

Performances are on Saturday, Feb. 21, at 2 and 7 p.m. in Evans Hall of Cummings Arts Center. Tickets are $10 general admission, $8 for students. Tickets can be purchased Feb. 16-20 in the College Center at Crozier-Williams, between noon and 4 p.m., or online at (There is a $1.40 surcharge when purchasing online.)

Refreshments will be available for purchase and a several raffle items will be offered. All proceeds will benefit Safe Futures.

February 12, 2015