On Thursday, Feb. 12 the all-woman cast of ASUSF College Players’ Vagina Monologues opened to a full house. 100 percent of the show’s proceeds went to women’s charities, namely the San Francisco Women’s Building and the V-Day movement, which has raised over $60 million world wide towards antiviolence programs, shelters, and safe houses for women, as well as educating millions about violence against women and the efforts help.
The production’s director, USF alumna Meghan O’Connor, made the bold decision to introduce two new final acts addressing rape and violent conflict to the show’s repertoire. “We were not sure how the audience would react,” said O’Connor. She hoped the pieces would make people want to get out of their comfort zones and inspire them to help, especially in response to the second act’s finale video addressing “femicide” and the use of violence against women as weaponry in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The hard-hitting film discussed how economic and political decisions impact these conflicts.
The audience responded positively to the ensemble’s passion and risk-taking. “I thought it was really good,” said sophomore Alessandro Broido. “I thought it was intense in the end, with the video. It was impacting.” Broido wasn’t the only man to enjoy the Vagina Monologues this Valentine’s weekend. In fact, opening night of the Vagina Monologues had a surprisingly high y-chromosome ratio for a USF event. “I saw a lot of men in the audience,” said O’Connor. “And they’re all pretty responsive. They should feel comfortable with a dialogue…with empowered and strong women.” Strong and empowered women was what this production was all about.
The production’s key focus was the worship, agonies, and triumphs of female genitalia. Even the concessions where women-centric, from the “I <3 Consent” T-shirts to the array of homemade baked goods, including a giant breast-cake rice treat and kissy-lip brownies.
The show itself was saucy, enthralling, and interactive, leaving neither a dry eye nor an unindulged laugh in the house. From sophomore Megan Pohlman, whose effortless and vivacious rendition of “The Vagina Workshop” left the audience roaring with laughter, to the collective performance of “Comfort Women,” the black-and-pink attired ensemble delivered a commanding performance, a truly sublime exhibition of theater.
The audience left feeling engaged and empowered. “All I have to say, is ‘cunt’ is my new favorite word,” said sophomore Grace Porter with a smile. O’Connor attributed the sweeping success of the production to the love and dedication of the cast. “Everyone had such a distinct personality. There was no competition,” said O’Connor. “Everyone was hard working, and everyone was funny…everyone was there the back each other up.”
After celebrating their opening weekend in the USF Presentation Theater, these feisty feminist performers will take their performance on the road for two performances at a Bay Area women’s jail. “I’m a little nervous,” O’Connor said. “We know it’s going to be a time when we are going to be changed more than the audience.” “And that’s a good thing!” said producer and host Julie Henderson. “Yeah,” O’Connor agreed. “That’s a good thing.”
Related Article: Vagina Monologues Talk on Page 2