Vocalizing the vagina

By Gus Bode

A passerby at the Communications Building over the weekend could have heard more than 20 different orgasmic moans emanating from the McLeod Theatre.

The moans – including that of a dog, a diva and an Irish Catholic – were featured in the student-produced “The Vagina Monologues.”

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The play is based on Eve Ensler’s award-winning off-Broadway production and details the stories of an eclectic mix of women dealing with issues ranging from menstruation to rape.

One of the moans – dubbed the “surprise triple orgasm” – was belted out by Rachel Goffinet, a junior from Herrin studying theater. She said the performing “The Vagina Monologues” was an enjoyable experience.

“It’s almost a euphoric feeling, because nobody really talks about it,” she said. “People make jokes occasionally, but vaginas aren’t something people talk about on a regular basis, so to be able to joke about that with a crowd of hundreds of people is great.”

Mandy Achter, a sophomore from New Lenox studying cinematography, saw the play for the first time Saturday night. She said the humor struck a chord.

“It’s funny, and that’s usually what people are able to come and see,” she said. “They think it’s going to be a bunch of women (complaining) about vaginas, but it’s done in a very humorous light, so it’s something many people, men and women, can relate to.”

In addition being humorous, Achter said, the play also deals with some very serious issues facing women. The underlying social themes make the play a good springboard to educate people, she said.

“There’s a social stigma against talking about rape and domestic violence and even vaginas in general, and bringing the awareness with the humor breaks the ice and allows people to get out in a collective group and become aware about these things and seek help or information,” she said.

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All proceeds of the play went to help educate and assist women in such situations further through the SIUC Women’s Center. Play co-producer Marina Smelyansky, a senior from Buffalo Grove studying theater, said the goal of the weekend performances was to raise $5,000 for the center.

Smelyansky, who also directed some of the monologues, said it was her fourth time being involved with the play, which has been performed annually at SIUC for the past five or six years.

“It’ll keep going every year until there is change in the world – until people have learned the path to stop the violence,” she said.

[email protected] 536-3311 ext. 254

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