Auditions for annual Vagina Monologues begin

Tech’s Women’s Awareness Month is coming up this March in correspondence with National Women’s History Month. Women’s Awareness is a month-long series of events meant to highlight women’s issues and rights, as well as their struggles in both the past and in contemporary times. The kick-off event is usually on Skiles and involves giveaways as well as information for the public on events to follow.

Some of the month’s events include Take Back the Night, designed to raise awareness on rape victims and the Red Dress Fashion Show, a charity event to raise funds for the American Heart Association. Of particular note during Women’s Awareness Month is the biannual production of the Vagina Monologues, a group of vignettes written by playwright Eve Ensler.

Originally written as a book and later retooled for New York City theatre, the play is a series of soliloquies that highlight aspects of what it means to be a woman, usually through a metaphorical or literal relation to the vagina. Each story involves a woman giving a monologue to the audience. These pieces cover a myriad of topics, such as love, rape, individuality, sexuality and ultimately the nature of existence for women.

At the same time, the tone of the monologues varies considerably, ranging from light-hearted rants about injustices against the vagina to much more personal stories, such as the account of one woman’s experience in the rape camps of Bosnia. All of these stories were based on the personal experiences of real women and were collected and adapted to the stage by Eve Ensler.

Ensler’s work is also malleable, always having one monologue that differs from the other ten. In conjunction with the V-Day College Campaign, all ticket sales of Tech’s production will go to charitable organizations for women, such as shelters. V-Day is an international campaign to increase awareness and raise funds to stop violence against women and girls.

Heading this production is Jane Wong, a fourth-year ECON and INTA student who performed in one of Tech’s previous productions of the Monologues. She and the rest of the team have been hard at work in spreading word of the play to the housing department as well as sororities and fraternities. She is currently involved in casting for the play’s upcoming auditions.

The deadline for the auditions is Nov. 10, but the production staff is prepared to extend it to the second half of November if necessary. The actual audition involves a cold reading of the script, lasting approximately 15 to 20 minutes. “[The] monologues should have a natural aspect instead of ‘acting’,” Wong said. At the same time, she also said that she has “no set kind of person in mind.”

Wong hopes to create an atmosphere similar to past years’ productions by casting the type of diverse group that is conducive to an enjoyable experience.

Wong also looks forward to having a production that moves and inspires people, saying that actors have been driven to tears while performing in past productions. Ultimately, she’s hoping this will be as much of a moving and learning experience for the cast and crew as it is for the audience.

“Even if they’re not moved, people can still learn from the experience by working together,” Wong said. This sentiment expressed by Wong is the primary goal of the production and V-Day in general. Wong noted that once they pick a beneficiary and venue, they will begin advertising much more heavily.

The key hope behind this play is that it will help people to better understand the causes behind Women’s Awareness Month and inspire the audience to spread word of the movement.

“This year, I want the cast to really understand the history of the monologues and hopefully spread to their friends and family,” Wong said. “Other universities are very familiar with the play. I hope Tech students also become familiar with it.”

Last year’s production benefited the Partnership Against Domestic Violence. In the past, Tech has raised more than $17,000 for charities including Men Stopping Violence, the Grady Rape Crisis Center and Angela’s House.