The Muckenthaler Cultural Center raised over $5,000 on Saturday, Feb. 24, thanks to compelling performances of “The Vagina Monologues.”

The proceeds raised will be going towards The Muckenthaler’s arts education program which works closely with marginalized women and girls.

The event is part of the V-Day movement started by “The Vagina Monologues” creator and writer Eve Ensler. Ensler wrote the play and allows for colleges and local venues to hold their own performance of her smash hit for the purpose of raising awareness and money to end violence against women.

First Performers

From left: Lindsay Chovanes, Suzanne Whang, and Vanessa Belongia open up the night. Photo credit: Madison Smith

Guests packed inside of The Muckenthaler for the sold out event. It made for an intimate performance as guests in the front row were only a foot away from the actors.

The tone, message and stories in the play were especially relevant given the #MeToo movement and the Time’s Up initiative that have emerged since the allegations of sexual harassment and assault in Hollywood and across various fields ranging from tech to farm work.

“Unfortunately it is still as relevant today as it was 20 years ago,” said Suzanne Whang who performed in the play.

Whang, who had one of the best received performances of the night, said that “the goal would be eventually we don’t need this piece anymore.”

Whang

Suzanne Whang received the most laughs and loudest applause of the night for reciting “The Woman Who Loved To Make Vaginas Happy.” Photo credit: Madison Smith

This was Whang’s fifth time performing in “The Vagina Monologues” and fourth time performing the piece entitled “The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy.”

It was the performance that garnered the loudest applause and cheers from the audience. In it, Whang played a sex worker whose clients are solely women.

It ends on a high note with a very animated Whang listing off and giving examples of the various moans there are when a client reaches their climax.

The night was full of laughter and fun poking at the way society talks about or doesn’t talk about vaginas. The topics of the monologues ranged from pubic hair, to the annoyance of hygiene products, to a monologue about a woman learning to love her vagina through a vagina workshop.

Vanessa Belongia

Vanessa Belongia reciting the monologue “My Angry Vagina” Photo credit: Madison Smith

But accompanying these monologues were a more serious reminder for the purpose of these events.

Monologues like “My Vagina Was My Village” which detailed the rape of Bosnian women and “Not-So-Happy-Fact” which reminded the audience that 130 million girls and young women, mainly in Africa, have been forced to undergo female genital mutilation according to UNICEF.

Holding the event at The Muckenthaler was the idea of Chief Education Officer Stephannie Bobadilla who performed in the play herself at age 19 in college.

“It had always been something I really favored and had been a big supporter of,” Bobadilla said.

Muckenthaler Standing Ovation

The performers of “The Vagina Monologues” receive loud applause and a standing ovation from the audience at The Muckenthaler on Feb. 24. Photo credit: Madison Smith

Farrell Hirsch, the Chief Executive Officer of The Muckenthaler, heaped praise on the play and the actors performing.

“Some people were brilliant because they are incredibly talented professional performers and some people were brilliant because they were just so unbelievably real on that stage tonight,” Hirsch said.

“There was one performance that was closer to reality than drama tonight.”

Bobadilla echoed this praise of the play.

“You could really feel the energy in the room.”

For any information about The Muckenthaler, please visit their website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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