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Feb. 21, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. – Each year, Eve Ensler’s play, “The Vagina Monologues,” is performed worldwide to raise awareness about violence against women and girls. After a 16-year hiatus, the show returns to La Grande Feb. 28 and 29, thanks to support from the Sexuality and Gender Equality (SAGE) Club at Eastern Oregon University.
Additional EOU clubs MountainQueers and SHAG collaborated with SAGE Club to produce the event. SAGE Club members organized to fully fund the show so that all of the proceeds from ticket sales can support Shelter From the Storm, a nonprofit in La Grande. MountainQueers Club President Carissa Cummings helped coordinate the show to raise awareness about sexual assault and domestic violence.
“‘The Vagina Monologues’ is important because it talks about violence against women. It also works to ‘demystify the vagina,’ as Joel Chin puts it,” Cummings said. “‘The Vagina Monologues’ is a series of monologues that Eve Ensler puts together each year to have performed all over the world. This is important to happen in La Grande because it has been over a decade since it has been performed here, and the community could really use more information about vaginas and people with vaginas.”
Each of the monologues is based on true stories, and are performed by women or gender non-binary actors. Director Beckie Juarez explained that Ensler’s play is designed to amplify women’s voices and experiences.
“The play is based on interviews conducted with women, some are group pieces while others are solo performances, all told in the first person,” Juarez said. “Some topics are humorous while others are much more serious. It serves to begin a conversation about these issues, that affect all genders, as well as other issues that affect women on a day to day basis.”
These real stories are meant to raise awareness and address the stigma of violence against women and girls, Juarez said. About half of the cast and crew members are EOU students, while the other half are alumni, employees and members of the La Grande community.
This partnership also plays out in the venues where the show will be performed. On Friday, Feb. 28, “The Vagina Monologues” will be performed on EOU’s campus in Hoke Union Building, Room 339. The next night, Saturday, Feb. 29, the show will be staged in downtown La Grande at hq, located at 112 Depot Street. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m. both nights.
Both performances feature free refreshments, as well as raffle ticket sales for gift cards and items donated by nine local businesses. Club members will also sell buttons and stickers designed by EOU students to raise funds for Shelter From the Storm.
All are welcome to attend. Note that this performance contains mature themes and language. Tickets cost $6 for students and $12 for general admission. They can be purchased at the EOU Bookstore, at the door or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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