Vday brings awareness to audiences with The Vagina Monologues and A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant & A Prayer

Multiple orgasms on stage, five straight minutes of moaning and about a hundred names for a vagina; curious yet? UBC VDay’s production of The Vagina Monologues and A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant & A Prayer have all this and more.

The Vagina Monologues, originally written and performed by Eve Ensler in 1996, has evolved into a much larger project in recent years. The play, and Ensler, helped launched the VDay movement.

A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant & A Prayer has also played a large role in the VDay movement. Today VDay is a global activist movement aimed at promoting awareness for, and finding an end to, violence against women through creative events. Traditionally, V-Day is run through university and community performances that raise money for local relief groups. This year, UBC VDay is sponsoring the Sexual Assault Support Centre at UBC, Women Against Violence Against Women and the Downtown Eastside Women's Centre.

The two plays pack a lot more than bedroom humour; they tackle complex and difficult issues from the gender spectrum to rape and female genital mutilation.

“The whole purpose is to raise awareness about violence against women and theatre is a platform to use to raise awareness about these issues. It also adds entertainment value and people will come out for a show,” said recent UBC graduate and Vagina Monologues director, Giselle Miller.

UBC VDay is alternating shows for the rest of the week before their double bill on Saturday.

Both plays are a series of monologues from women and others, focusing on sexual violence, violence against women, LBGTQ and feminist issues. Monologues take a light-hearted approach and utilize humour to talk about these difficult issues. The occasional serious monologues are abrupt, hard hitting and emotional. A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant & A Prayer is heavier and has a wider variety of characters, including men and gender nonconforming persons.

While the issues covered are very specific, the play is for everyone, said UBC VDay co-director and treasurer Noni Nabors. “Anyone can benefit from these shows. It's beneficial to have everyone.”

“This [violence against women] is a really important issue. Though violence against women seems to be specific to women only, it is very much a global issue and it’s an issue that effects everyone. We encourage men to come out and be included in the conversation,” said Miller.

The plays draw in a diverse crowd through their use of humour. Everyone was in stitches over the classifications of moans and the monologue about all the names for vaginas, which range from coochie scorcher to toadie, with dozens that are certainly not allowed in print.

Feminism, and the ideas carried with it, are often relegated to academics and political debates -- the VDay performances strip all that away, allowing members of the audience to learn about the issues at hand in a fun and inclusive environment.

Check out The Vagina Monologues and A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant & A Prayer for a fun and informative conversation about gendered issues.