New production celebrates V-Day

Molly Smith

]”The Vagina Monologues” has traditionally been performed at Whitman in honor of V-Day, but this year senior Nicole Pexton wanted to try something different.

With the help of Feminists Advocating Change and Empowerment (FACE), VOX and the Women’s Resource Lounge (WRL), Pexton organized the performance of “A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer” in celebration of V-Day.

V-Day is a global movement to end violence against women and girls. Through V-Day campaigns, college campuses and community organizations across the nation and the world produce annual benefit performances of V-Day founder and playwright Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues” to raise awareness and funds for anti-violence groups in their own communities.

In 2006, “A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer,” a collection of monologues edited by Ensler, was commissioned as another performance option for V-Day.

“I was really excited about staging ‘A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer,’ especially since there was the potential for involving men,” said Pexton.
“These monologues have a more serious tone and they present a different message that is fresh and that represents many voices and perspectives.”

“‘The Vagina Monologues’ were relatively lighthearted and much more of their quality came from their humor. ‘A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer’ is a much more serious production,” said sophomore Anastasia “Stazh” Zaminkos who has experience acting in both productions. “My heart went out to the voices of these monologues in a far more serious and touching way than it did in ‘The Vagina Monologues,’ and I feel that this has been the reaction of the audience as well. A few audience members even cried out of compassion for these women (and man).”

The change in play, however, made it more difficult to produce “A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer.”

“There’s no real template for the show,” said Pexton. “‘The Vagina Monologues’ are very established and they lay out everything. There’s a lot more freedom in producing these monologues and there’s a lot more that has to be decided by the cast. The monologues come from a book of about 100 and we had to choose eight to 10 and decide the order of the show.”

Because the new production did not have as much name recognition as “The Vagina Monologues,” it was more difficult for the group to sell tickets.
“We made approximately $1,140 this year,” said Pexton. The proceeds from the shows will be donated to the Walla Walla YWCA, the Walla Walla Planned Parenthood and the V-Day organization.

Although the performances raised less money than last year, there were only two showings these year as opposed to last year’s three. “I’m very pleased with the amount we raised.   My goal was $1,000,” said Pexton.

It remains to be seen whether “A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer” will continue to be produced for Whitman’s celebration of V-Day.

“I think it might be a good idea to go back to ‘The Vagina Monologues’ [for next year] because people aren’t going to take it for granted anymore since it hasn’t happened this year. I think there will be more excitement for it. It might be a good thing to alternate between these two productions every year,” said Pexton.

“‘A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer’ was defiantly a worthy experiment even if it wasn’t as popular as ‘The Vagina Monologues,'” said Pexton. “I’m so glad that I tried this.”