A crowd of more than 40 people gathered in senior Alisha Brizicky’s backyard Saturday night to watch a performance of “The Vagina Monologues.”
The show, which enjoyed a two night run, was written by Eve Ensler in 2001. It tackles many serious issues, including rape, cancer, and genital mutilation.
When Brizicky approached St. John’s administrators about holding the show on campus, she was met with much resistance.
“The play itself really tries to focus on the value of awareness, creating awareness around violence against women and opposing that, and we all support that value,” said Father Maher in January. He continued, “Our position has been that by the very nature of the play, we’re not able to do that- specifically, people are divided on the play.”
The play is also linked to V-Day, a global movement committed to stopping violence against women, which takes place every February 14. In fact, Brizicky called V-Day “a fantastic movement.”
After being denied the chance to have the play performed on campus, Brizicky decided to have it performed in her backyard.
“This is something that is very dear to me,” she said. “I thought it was important enough to pursue it.”
Before the performance, English professor Dohra Ahmad said, “I don’t have the words to express how proud I am.” She continued, “I’m really happy that the show is happening.
“It exists to change the idea that the mention of the female anatomy may be offensive,” she explained. “It shows that the category of female and feminism is enormous. The show has to happen.”
Many of the cast members were friends of Brizicky’s, but some, however, got involved through a group that was created on Facebook, as well as by “word of mouth,” according to cast member Amanda Reichmuth, a senior at St. John’s.
All proceeds from the tickets, which costed $5 for St. John’s students and $10 for non-students, went to the Allen Women’s Resource Center. Joyce Skinner, the director of the center, was invited to see the performance. Afterwards, Skinner, who set up a table in Brizicky’s backyard, offered more information about violence against women.
“I’m very happy that we’ve been chosen to be the recipients,” Skinner said. “The show talks about women’s issues and that’s what we deal with. There’s a real sense of freedom to express ourselves.”
Members of the audience and cast agreed that the show was a success.
“It was amazing,” said senior Laurie Haltizer. “I’m glad they got to pull it off.”
Cast member Reichmuth said, “It was important that it got to be done. She explained, “It’s for a good cause, and it’s funny and poignant.”
Brizicky believed that the show was “fantastic. There were so many people, even though there was no advertising,” she explained. “The audience was really responsive. There were men as well as women in the audience, which is important to have.”