“The Vagina Monologues” Empowers the Hollow

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—Lucy Rogers
On Wednesday, February
13th, a bustling crowd filled the Tarrytown Music Hall and extend- ed onto the Main Street sidewalk. Made up of mostly women, the crowd was lining up to see a play called The Vagina Monologues. Produced by the all-female group V-Day Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow, and directed by SHHS parents Gina Lamparella and Nancy Puleo, the play consists of a series of vivid monologues about girlhood and womanhood. The Vagina Monologues seeks to educate anyone who wants to listen about the struggles and injustices women face, including sexual harassment, rape, and genital mutilation, as well as to portray some of the beautiful parts of the female experience. The play was written in 1994 by playwright and activist Eve Ensler. She based the monologues on a series of interviews she had conducted with women. These stories brought forth tragic stories of rape and abuse, as well as stories of the female experience that were more lighthearted.

Many publications, including the New York Times, have cited The Vagina Monologues as one of the most important pieces of political theater of the century. The script is a living document, with a new monologue added each year on February 13th, known as “V-Day,” to highlight a new issue women face. V-Day now involves over 5,800 annual performances of The Vagina Monologues.

I had the chance to attend The

Vagina Monologues on this past V-
Day. I enjoyed the play thoroughly.

My favorite monologue was proba-
bly “My Angry Vagina,” per-
formed by Sol Miranda (who ap-
peared on the Netflix series The

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt).
Miranda was theatrical, eloquent,

and altogether brilliant. Her perfor-
mance made me laugh, but it also

reminded me of the impracticality
of products for vaginal “hygiene,”

such as douche sprays, and the dis-
comfort that many people with va-
ginas go through when it comes

to tampons and visits to the gy-
necologist. Other monologues

touched on issues related to con-
sent, childbirth, attraction, and

female empowerment. The Vagi-
na Monologues was deeply in-
spirational and is an essential

play for everyone to see, regard-
less of their gender.

In total, the sold-out Tar-
rytown production of The Vagi-
na Monologues collected over

$42,000 for Hope’s Door and

My Sister’s Place, two organiza-
tions that work diligently to pro-
tect women and children from

domestic abuse. These organiza-
tions also provide shelter, legal

services, and counseling to keep
women and children safe. They
additionally offer counseling for

boys and men on anger manage-
ment. This local production was

thus a perfect combination of art
and activism.
I was lucky enough to speak
with one of the producers of this

phenomenal show, Christina Khar-
em. She has helped to produce The

Vagina Monologues twice, once in
2012 and again on this past V-Day.
Kharem told me that she decided to
help produce the play in 2019 after

her sister, Yvette, a victim of do-
mestic violence, was tragically

killed last year. She explained that
“the grief will never go away, but it
helps to help others.” She also told

me that working with such a large
group of women was “challenging
but wonderful.” The production
was a lot of work, but “having a
mutual mission made it bearable.”
When asked which monologue was
her favorite, Kharem said that she
couldn’t choose: “It’s like having
to choose a favorite child.”
March is Women’s History
Month, and what better play to lead
up to it than this inspirational play
that gives voices to women and
girls around the globe? Without
knowledge, we cannot make a
change. As Christina Kharem says,
The Vagina Monologues are an
amazing form of “social activism
through creative expression.”
Though the play was first staged
over 20 years ago, it continues to
be incredibly relevant, especially at

a time when women’s rights contin-
ue to be threatened by political and

cultural forces around the world.