V-Day production reaches wider audience

Jamie Anderson

Jamie Anderson

Domestic violence happens everywhere, even in Brookings. Through performance, students want to show people different aspects of domestic violence.

“I think it’s important to raise awareness,” said Catherine Grandorff, a senior English and Spanish major. “We want to make sure the community knows that (domestic violence) is still an issue. We don’t think about it every day and don’t necessarily like to talk about it.”

The past two years, Campus Women’s Coalition performed The Vagina Monologues to advocate against domestic violence. One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime, said the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. This year, though the mission is the same, the approach is different.

“This year is more focused on violence against women with not so much focus on comedy,” said Molly Miles, a junior broadcast journalism major. “The Vagina Monologues was more vulgar to liberate women to talk about sexuality.”

Eve Ensler’s A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and a Prayer will be performed on March 26 and 27 at Fishback Studio Theatre. The show will start at 7 p.m. both days, with a matinee on March 28 at 2 p.m.

The performances are sponsored by Weekend Stuff and Campus Women’s Coalition. Tickets are $10 and $5 for students with their ID. The proceeds will go to the Brookings Domestic Abuse Shelter.

“There are great things about both productions,” said Grandorff, who has been a part of Campus Women’s Coalition since fall 2006. “(This one) is a little more serious in parts, but still has funny parts. It reaches a broader audience.”

Ensler asked people to tell her stories about women and violence and then compiled letters of the different stories, said Miles. There is one about a Hispanic woman, an Islamic woman, a woman in the army and one about a woman raped in a dorm.

Some students don’t have time for a lot of acting productions, but they make the V-Day events a priority.

Grandorff said she did theater in high school, but she is now too busy to devote much time. Yet she makes time for the V-Day production since it helps raise awareness about an important topic.

“I am getting a women’s studies minor so I have gotten more involved in women’s events this year,” said Kiley Boutelle, a junior nursing major. “I’m intrigued by feminist activism and advocacy.”

With The Vagina Monologues the past two years, only females were in the cast. This year’s production will include a wide variety of about 20 cast members including a few instructors, some graduate students, an exchange student and even men, said Miles.

“It will relate more to men. People thought it was anti-men in the past,” said Miles. “It was really fun before, but we wanted to change it after two years.”

“I’m looking forward to the theater part of it and trying to pull it off and make it believable,” said Boutelle, a Brown Hall community assistant. “I’ve been in Capers, but it’s completely different from that.”

The Campus Women’s Coalition is a student organization that has been part of the SDSU campus since 2003. They are dedicated to supporting and developing women-centered resources, activities and programs for all members of the University community. Their activities focus on empowering women economically, socially and politically.

The people of Brookings can see a piece that gets them to think about an issue that maybe they wouldn’t usually think about, but it brings awareness to it, said Miles, who organized and directed the event with Grandorff.

Along a similar theme, the Week to End Violence program will debut in April.

“We wanted to do (the performance) as a fundraiser,” said Boutelle. “The show is a gateway to upcoming Campus Women’s Coalition events.”

Miles said both shows are V-Day productions, but that the change in show this year should cover every aspect of different women and focuses more on violence toward women.

“We have men in our production, so I’m looking forward to those perspectives,” said Grandorff. “This isn’t just a women’s issue, but more of a universal issue.”