V-Day: Until the violence stops

Cory Robertson

This year’s production of Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues” promises a new take on a show you may have seen before.
Said Director David Hanzal, “[‘The Vagina Monologues’] is a show that needs to be performed annually, and it needs to be reinterpreted if it is going to stay powerful year after year.”
This time, expect characters with distinct personalities, from their costumes to their tones of voice, and a local band of Lawrence alumni – Love, Claire – to add a touch of angsty folk rock to the mix.
Angst, however, won’t be the defining feature of the production. Though he admits that the show can seem like an angry one, Hanzal has a different vision.
“I wanted to stress the need to come together as a community to deal with these issues, and at the end of the day to be pro-love and not have any of that anger seep into the show,” he said.
Featured characters include a butch lesbian, a transvestite, an elegant businesswoman, and an elderly woman. But Hanzal hopes to focus on what all of these women have in common, not the differences between them. In the face of violence against women, differences between individuals become minute.
Also different from past years is the presence of a male actor in the cast. Freshman Mike Korcek will play the part of a transvestite.
“In the first part he’s a visible man, a stagehand/observer, and in the other part of the show we see his physical transformation and the ambiguities of gender and sexuality,” said Hanzal, who implemented a gender-blind policy when casting the role.
Another highlighted monologue is “My Short Skirt,” to be performed by sophomore Charlotte King.
“It’s been done in past years as an angry sexy person,” said Hanzal, “but this year we tried to find a real person behind all of the skits – someone we can relate to.”
The famed orgasm monologue, “The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy,” in which a female sex worker demonstrates a plethora of different orgasmic moans, will be performed by junior Daniella Cartun. She will don what Hanzal described as a “Betty Page-inspired S & M prostitute outfit” for the role.
Last but not least among the many new features of this year’s production are a number of actors you most likely haven’t seen before. “We have a lot of freshmen in the cast,” said Hanzal, “a lot of up-and-coming theater majors with a lot of potential.”
Although “The Vagina Monologues” was first performed in 1998, its basic goal remains the same: to give voice to the millions of women who remain silent on the subjects of sexuality and abuse.
Said senior cast-member Layla Schwartz, “We come from generations before us that didn’t talk about these things. If we are told not to talk about something, we assume it’s something to be ashamed of.” “The Vagina Monologues” aims to uproot that notion wherever it may still exist.
Hanzal’s production of “The Vagina Monologues” will be performed Feb. 25 and 26 at 8 p.m. in Cloak Theatre.