Ithaca College’s IC Players will perform “The Vagina Monologues” at 7 p.m Feb. 15 in Emerson Suites.
The show is a series of true stories about everyday issues women face. Gabriella Carr, who graduated from the college in December, has returned to help out. This will be her sixth time performing “The Vagina Monologues.” She will be playing the role of playwright Eve Ensler. She said the show is more than just monologues: It is also a place for people to find comfort and to talk about their own issues.
“‘The Vagina Monologues’ isn’t supposed to be a play, it’s supposed to be a platform for discussion and change, and the show particularly touches upon the subject matter of violence committed against women,” Carr said.
She said when the show first opened in New York City, women would line up after the performance to speak with Ensler about their own issues for the first time.
Ensler was the inspiration for this year’s production theme, senior co-director Julia Castle said.
“We’re really trying to explore Eve Ensler’s role in ‘The Vagina Monologues,’” Castle said. “She is very much an integral part of our vision this year.”
Not only does the show inspire women to talk about their issues, but Carr said the cast has also become more comfortable speaking out.
“This has been one of the most fearless casts, in terms of being able to open up about their connections to the material, and that’s something really hard to ask people,” Carr said.
Senior director Angela Barry-Florio said one of the cast members called her a mentor. She said this was unexpected and much appreciated.
“It felt really good to hear that I was inspiring these girls to be open and inspiring these girls to claim themselves as feminists and be interested in these issues that women must face every day and start recognizing that society’s ideals about women are affecting our psyche,” Barry-Florio said.
Barry-Florio said the cast has been rehearsing for the past three weeks, including additional discussion groups and character-building activities. She said one of the activities required a performer to sit in the middle of a circle, as her character, and answer a swarm of questions from the other cast members.
To help the women open up and become more comfortable with one another and the issues addressed in the show, Barry-Florio said they also did an exercise in which the girls would step forward and speak if the scenario given pertained to her. She said some of the scenarios included “I find myself beautiful,” “I have a good relationship with my parents” and “You or someone you know has been a survivor of sexual assault.”
After the show, Barry-Florio said the cast will host a talk-back, where the audience will be allowed to ask any of the cast members questions. Each woman may choose to answer as herself or as her character from the show.
Carr said she hopes the audience consists of more than just women. She said it’s important for a variety of people to attend in order to make a change.
“It shouldn’t just be women who enter the room to see the show,” Carr said. “It’s very important that anyone of any gender, sex, race be willing to put themselves in the room. It can make people uncomfortable, but nothing that brings about good change is comfortable.”
The reaction, Carr said, is a key part of the show. She said each audience member will have a different reaction, depending on that audience member’s personal experiences.
“It’s a show where you’re going to laugh, you might to cry, you might have to leave the room, you might grab your best friend’s hand and squeeze it. You know that’s what kind of show it is,” Carr said. “Everyone has their own personal journey when they watch the show, and that’s the great part. You can go to the show every year, and it’s going to be totally different, and how you react to it is going to be different.”