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|Written by An Nguyen|
|Tuesday, 22 March 2011 00:00|
While most students attending Carleton University spent their March pulling all-nighters, 36 female students found themselves a cause worth fighting for. The Vagina Monologues ran this year from March 11 to March 12, 2011 and opened to a strong turn-out. After steering through the huge campus, I found myself seated in Porter Hall of the University Centre. Rows of fold out chairs quickly filled up, and I was extremely grateful to find no shortage of men in the crowd.
Traditionally The Vagina Monologues are marked by a series of soliloquies written and performed by women. Written by Eve Ensler, The Vagina Monologues have quickly become a movement across the world to end domestic violence. According to co-directors Rosella Chibambo and Vanessa Baker, proceeds from this year's Carleton University performance went to the V-Day organization (to support women and girls in Haiti), the Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre, and the Coalition for a Carleton Sexual Assault Centre.
A minimal stage with black and white head shots of the cast members taped to the background wall gave the initial impression of a low-key, low-budget performance. Minutes into the show, however, the background faded away as audience members quickly realized these students were taking on stimulatingly taboo and larger than life issues.
For $12 at the door, audience members were exposed to the rawest of female expression. If watching a women slowly arch her back to mimic the viewing of her vagina in a full length mirror for the first time didn't get your attention, perhaps the orgasmic joy expressed when four women found their g-spots at a Vagina Workshop would have.The crowd found unity in cheering on funny stats, like the thought of 8000 nerve fibres lining the clitoris. That's twice the nerve fibres found on the penis. A thundering roar by the audience broke out in the room, as female audience members celebrated packing more power than their male counterparts. Laughter erupted when a dominatrix and her clients demonstrated how orgasms are best when they take you by surprise then subsequently deny you satisfaction. Audience members gasped in shock, others looked frightened, and some couldn't laugh loud enough. The guy next to me sat a little taller in his seat looking slightly turned on by the hot "Bev Oda" moans.
So how has this performance been different than any others?
To begin, co-director Vanessa Baker indicated that the script was altered in some cases to appeal to an Ottawa and broader Canadian audience with references to coming on the O-Train, using an Esso bathroom, the "go ravens" moan, and quick jabs at Bev Oda and Stephen Harper.Also, given the importance of Aboriginal culture within Canada, the producers decided to add a script on abuse within the aboriginal community. According to Statistics Canada, female abuse is higher by 3.5% on Aboriginal reserves. With hand claps signifying physical punches to the face, the audience held their breath as a young actress cried at the hands physical abuse on stage. A clever direction for the monologues as this piece became one of the stronger performances of the night.
Through The Vagina Monologues, the students at Carleton University took a brazen approach to raising awareness surrounding domestic violence. Their performance disrupted any silence surrounding female crisis like rape and genital mutilation, while serving to educate the audience on cultural and social attitudes about puberty and perceptions of beauty. If you haven't already checked out a Vagina Monologues performance this spring, please make sure you do so. You can also visit vday.org to show your support.
Tags: anarchy, box, carleton, cunny, cunt, eve ensler, ottawa, pussy, review, theatre, twat, va jay jay, vagina, vagina monologues