Minot State University's Campus Players present Eve Ensler's "The Vagina Monologues" tonight through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in the Aleshire Theater in Hartnett Hall.
The 1996 play is designed as a reader's theater, meaning minimal costuming and staging for the women reading the stories. Kymn Quill is directing a diverse group of people with varying degrees of experience.
Holly Pope and Emily Anderson have never been on stage with it. Mother-and-daughter Karen and Kena Davidson are appearing together for the first time, although Karen has been in it twice before.
Terry J. Aman/MDN - - From left, Ashley Nilsen, Sara Gietzen-Lopez, Emily Anderson, Karen Davidson, Kymn Quill and Holly Pope are taking part in this year’s presentation of Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues” readers theater at Minot State University.
Sara Gietzen-Lopez and Ashley Nilsen are old hands, and Paula Lindekugel-Willis has both directed and performed throughout its seven-year history at MSU. Quill will also join the performance on Saturday.
Ensler interviewed more than 200 women to come up with the stories used in this play. Each year a different collection of stories becomes the script, along with a choice of optional stories.
"Every year (we) get more of an audience," said Gietzen-Lopez.
When asked if she was uncomfortable speaking on the theme, she replied, "Not now, but yes, at first I certainly did. I'm glad I can get accustomed to the word 'vagina.' Now I can use it with my girlfriends, and use it in a more politically correct way."
Pope said it made a difference at auditions which stories she wanted to do. As for the format of reader's theater, Quill said although the stories are true, some are disturbing, and she was just as happy not to have to memorize them.
"I wouldn't want them rattling around in my head," Pope commented. "I prefer to be selective about what I remember. Of course, some of it is downright hilarious!"
"It's nice to be able to look at the others and react honestly," Karen Davidson said.
The women were all interested in having men in particular attend the performances. Anderson said she knew some of her professors were challenging their students to attend.
"One of every two people have one," Quill said. "You (men) always complain how you don't understand us, then come!"
Gietzen-Lopez said some of the men she knew wouldn't come to the show, but bought tickets to support the cause. The performance costs $10, with 90 percent of the proceeds going to Minot's Domestic Violence Crisis Center, which serves a four-county area in north central North Dakota. The remainder will support women and children of the Congo in combat zones. According to Wikipedia, more than $75 million has been raised for women's anti-violence groups worldwide through benefits of the show.