by Anne DeLello ’20 A&E Staff
The Vagina Monologues has been performed by Providence College students for the past 17 years at AS220, a performing arts venue in downtown Providence. The play was written by Tony Award Winner and known activist Eve Ensler.
Ensler wrote TVM in 1994. Since its debut, it has been translated into 50 languages and performed in over 140 countries. The play was originally written as a “moving work of art on violence,” according to the V-Day website. As the show became more popular, Ensler was approached by many women who were survivors of violence, and she realized that the show could be more than just a piece of art about violence against women. TVM then progressed to being a “mechanism for moving people to act to end violence.”
The V-Day Movement has grown since the original production of TVM and is a “global activist movement to end violence against women.” Not only is the V-Day Movement on a mission to end the violence against women that is sadly present around the world today, but it has also raised over 100 million dollars to support women and end the fight against domestic and sexual violence.
All of the funds raised from the two shows on Feb. 19 and 22 will be donated to the Sojourner House in Providence. Sojourner House provides a safe haven 24 hours a day, seven days a week for victims of domestic and sexual abuse.
The performance tells the stories of real women and maintains a serious tone with hints of humor throughout. The show ran for two hours with a brief intermission and was broken up into a series of monologues, as the title suggests. Some titles from TVM include “Over It,” which spoke to how fed up the speaker is with violence against women, and “Crooked Braid,” a monologue that specifically refers to the domestic violence that Native American women face within their homes and communities.
Emily Tolbert ‘20 is on the executive board of TVM at PC along with Maria Johnsen ’20 and Lucia Gonzalez ’22. When asked to comment on her experience with TVM, Tolbert said, “The Vagina Monologues has been the most empowering thing I’ve done at PC. It is so inspiring to see this tradition continue thriving each year without any support from the institution.” She went on to emphasize that “It’s so important to be able to speak openly about sex and sexual violence, and this show starts those conversations within the PC community.”
Sparking conversations about domestic violence is one of the goals of TVM. Generally, sexual violence against women is not talked about, and the world needs to start having this conversation if violence against women is going to end. The Vagina Monologues has ignited this discussion around the world and will continue to do so for many more years to come.