Chances are, you've heard of The Vagina Monologues. And if you've even just heard the title, you're not likely to forget it. But you can forget your preconceptions.
The show, a collection of monologues compiled by feminist playwright Eve Ensler, explores the humorous, strange and sometimes devastating relationships women have with their bodies. Addressing topics ranging from masturbation to rape to just-what-the-heck you're supposed to call "down there," the decade-old show remains relevant and poignant today for women, men and folks in between.
UCCS Theatreworks' group is one of countless organizations worldwide that present The Vagina Monologues annually in conjunction with V-Day, a day to raise awareness about violence against women.
This year's show will benefit local nonprofits CASA and TESSA, and will anchor Theatreworks' first-ever Women's Weekend. Vagina Monologues cast members also will participate in free staged readings of two other Ensler plays, The Good Body and Necessary Targets, on Feb. 4 and Feb. 5, respectively, at 2 p.m. at the Dusty Loo Bon Vivant Theater.
This year's Vagina Monologues will be different from past performances, says cast member Anjelica Bencomo.
"There will be a set, to make it more of a performance piece instead of just a staged reading," she says. "We're presenting it more like actual actors portraying the women instead of injecting our own personalities into the monologues."
To enhance the audience's connection to the women on stage, director Toni Laney will project still images of women -- from historical icons to family members of the cast -- during the performance.
"I want our audiences to feel like they know these women and their stories," she says, "instead of just being intimidated by people screaming, 'Vagina!'"
-- Bettina Swigger
The Vagina Monologues benefit for CASA and TESSA
UCCS' Dusty Loo Bon Vivant Theater, 3955 Cragwood Drive
Thursday-Sunday, Feb. 2-5, 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $30; call 262-3232 or visit uccstheatreworks.com.