The Lehigh Women’s Center will present its last production of “The Vagina Monologues” this February in an effort to find alternative ways to raise money for and awareness of gender violence in the future.
The Women’s Center has held the production for more than a decade.
“The Vagina Monologues” began as a series of hundreds of interviews conducted by playwright Eve Ensler, all of which focused on different issues women have faced with regard to gender roles and gender violence.
The award-winning play is part of a worldwide movement about female empowerment and ending violence against women known as “V-Day.” The V-Day website says that this global activist movement generates broader attention for the fight to stop violence against women and girls in such forms as rape, battery, incest and other prevalent issues.
“The issues that it talks about are not becoming less relevant, but the way it’s being presented is, and it is not resonating with the audiences the way it used to,” director Kelly Corrigan, ’17, said of the production’s nearing end.
Although Corrigan said they have had a strong audience and support in the past, there has been less interest in “The Vagina Monologues” in recent years because so many people have already seen the play, which has even started to be performed in some high schools.
“Not many people are aware that this is the last year yet, especially people that are new and coming in that don’t have that connection with it yet,” she said. “It hasn’t resonated with them.”
Corrigan said that the decision to discontinue producing the play is ultimately a good one because its producers are trying to raise funds for these issues, and if this is becoming an obsolete way of doing so, it’s important to move on and try to find a better method.
Co-producer Dana Gallant, ’15, said 90 percent of the money raised goes to gender violence resources in the local community, such as Turning Point or the Crime Victims Council. Gallant said the other 10 percent of the money goes to the V-Day Foundation, which then gets donated to an international campaign.
In order to make this last performance special and more impactful, Corrigan said the producers are looking into hosting the event at a different location, such as Zoellner Arts Center instead of Packard 101, where it has been held in past years. She also said there’s discussion over inviting back the people who were originally involved with Lehigh’s V-Day as special guests.
Shayna Love, ’17, and Darcy Horn, ’17, who helped promote the event last year and also acted as its financial advisers, both said it is disappointing to see a show that appeared to be so successful come to an end because it promoted such a good cause in a fun way.
While Gallant said it is hard to get people interested when the name of the play can turn people away, the producers often partner with organizations on campus to help raise awareness and funds.
“It’s a really great, empowering event that is very important for people to see because we don’t have many things like this on campus where women are given a voice to express feelings that are not often spoken about,” said Sophie Kravet, ’15, a former V-Day participant.