Production opens discussion about women’s sexuality
The 2010 UNLV V-Day benefit production of the award winning play “The Vagina Monologues” brought both sexes together to raise money for women forced into sex-trafficking, a modern-day form of slavery.
Sex trafficking is a worldwide illicit industry affecting even those who find home in Las Vegas.
“It’s a lot more common than people realize,”said Brittany Stull, Director of this year’s Vagina Monologues.
“Just a few months ago, there was a story in the news about two little girls who got taken at 10 [years old]. It’s happening all over,” Stull said.
Raising money to stop sex-trafficking in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is this year’s V-Day Spotlight Campaign.
Established by playwright and author of The Vagina Monologues, Eve Ensler, V-Day raises money for women through performances of The Vagina Monologues and other theatrical productions.
The V-Day spotlight campaign, emphasized during the evening, is currently working to end abuse in the DRC.
Used as a weapon of war, the women of the Congo face systematic sexual violence and rape, suffering severe physical and psychological abuse through their lives.
Last year, the production brought in about $3,000, said Stull, and helped fund multiple charities. This year, the focus is on raising money to stop sex trafficking in the United States.
The cast of “The Vagina Monologues” are made up of student volunteers and activists within the Vagina Warriors club on campus.
Student and cast member Lyss Remaly said she decided to be a part of the production this year when her sorority sister brought her to the audition.
“It wasn’t until a little bit into the show that I realized what these women were doing,” Remaly said. “It’s about making a statement and being a part of the movement.”
The first production of “The Vagina Monologues” was shown in 1996. Since then, it has been published in 45 different languages and performed in more than 120 countries.
When “The Vagina Monologues” was first shown, it was considered a provocative but groundbreaking theatrical act. Fourteen years later, the love for the monologues and vaginas, doesn’t make people as bashful.
“I think now it’s at a certain point where it’s not as weird when people hear about it,” said three-year cast member Amanda Rida.
Stull said that a lot of the subject matter seems to be more acceptable now, even though specific monologues bring a lot of controversy to this day.
One act in particular, “The Little Coochie Snorcher,” performed by Rida and Kimeiko-Hubbard-McBeth, tells the story of a young girl who learns about her sexuality with the help of another.
“In the original monologue, the girl is thirteen. But for the college [play], she is 16,” Stull said, adding that this still causes discomfort among some audience members.
“That’s usually the one thing that people really don’t like. People fail to see it’s not about pedophilia. It’s about saving this girl.”
Remaly said that for the cast members, the monologues involve people who come from different backgrounds, but all have one commonality that brings them together.
Even though the students may come from different cultures and ethnicities, each monologue brings a unique story to the campus at UNLV.
“I still think we need to get more men and more UNLV students coming,” Rida said, adding that a lot of the people who attend the monologues on campus are family and friends of the cast.
“The whole point of the play is to educate,” Rida said. “[But] it’s always hard to get people to come to things. You would think [students] would want to come more but we need to work on outreaching.”
Stull, who moved to Las Vegas from Utah, said that there weren’t events like “The Vagina Monologues” in her small town.
“It wasn’t really allowed in the area,” Stull said. “I like the idea that I’ve been able to get involved.”
Remaly shared a similar experience once she decided to become a part of “The Vagina Monologues” this year. Both Remaly and Stull said that seeing other women get involved in something so significant made an impact in their lives.
Remaly learned that the monologues were about showing the beauty of women and the female body.
“I think that this is an incredible cause,” Remaly said, “and I wish that more people could realize we’re not dirty, we’re not inappropriate. We’re just having fun.”
The production also helped get the campus ready for women’s history month, which takes place throughout the month of March. March 8 is the International Day for Women, followed by a Women’s Health Series on the 18 and a film series on the 23, brought to UNLV by the Jean Nidetch Women’s Center on campus.