Why I Choose/Chose to Do The Vagina Monologues

I first heard about The Vagina Monologues in 2005, when three of my 3rd year high school students were invited to perform in that year’s Cagayan de Oro production. Two of the three were allowed by their parents to join and I accompanied them to the rehearsals and performances.

Although I had been hearing a lot of praises for Eve Ensler’s masterpiece, I wasn’t really sure what it was about. The 2005 production was my first exposure to The Vagina Monologues.

In 2008, I again became part of the CDO production of TVM. This time around, I was actually part of the production, not just a chaperone to the performers. I did voice over narrations, joined the cast in the spotlight narration, and was the group’s stage/production manager. Being in the show gave me a better understanding of what TVM was (is) about.

What It Talks About

Our poster for the show last April.

When you first heard the words The Vagina Monologues, what was the immediate thought that came to your mind? Let’s be honest here and say, “vagina”. Yes, vagina. It was the first thing I thought of, too, when someone told me about the show. I thought it was scary…and interesting.

I was right. The Vagina Monologues is really scary and interesting. Scary because you don’t know how people would react to it. But that’s what also makes it interesting; learning what people actually think about everything that the show talks about.

The Vagina Monologues at Rodelsa Hall – February 2014 (Photos by Jessie Villegas)

The Vagina Monologues is not really about vaginas. Well, it is, but it’s not. TVM is more than just what you think it is. It is about women finally being able to talk about something that many say is taboo. It is about women finally being able to show how they feel about the way other people treat them, about who they are and who they want to be, about how they want to be treated, and about what it’s like to be a woman.

The Vagina Monologues is also about the LGBT community. It’s about giving our gay and transgender friends the chance to share their stories and their feelings without anyone interrupting them to throw an insult or two. TVM is about letting people know that gays and transgenders are humans, not objects that you can beat up and throw around.

The Vagina Monologues is about stories of women: a woman whose husband continues to cheat on her despite heeding his absurd requests, transgenders who talk about how they were bullied and continue to be bullied, and a woman who was raped by a gang of men in a war torn country.

Lastly, The Vagina Monologues is about freedom. The freedom to be the woman or LGBT that you want to be. The freedom to express yourself the way you want to. The freedom to do the things you want to do without people judging you. And yes, it is also about accepting the fact that there is nothing taboo about vaginas. You do not commit a sin and burn in hell if you say the word vagina. It is not wrong to talk about it. Nobody will put you in jail if you do so.

The Vagina Monologues at Inside Out – 2015 (Photos by Chinx Banquerigo)

The vagina is a part of every woman you meet on the street. It is one of the things that complete a woman. It is a treasure. All these are what being a part of The Vagina Monologues (for 6 years now) has taught me.

If you ask me now, today, what The Vagina Monologues is all about, I’ll tell you this: TVM is all about women, gays, transgenders, and the men and women in their lives. It talks of stories told by women from different parts of the world. Stories that will make you laugh, cry, fear, discover, understand, and reflect on. Stories that will tell you how difficult, scary, and wonderful it is to be a woman.

Staging The Vagina Monologues

The Vagina Monologues at Seda Centrio – March 2016

We’ve been staging The Vagina Monologues since 2013 and it hasn’t been easy. We’ve never had a production that didn’t encounter challenges. There have always been challenges and this year’s was the worst. From playdate changes to cast members backing out, to zero financial support, we braved it all because we wanted to put on a good show. And we did, despite last minute cast changes, three playdates rescheduled, and no financial backing (I used my money for rehearsals and food). Our production this year is, in fact, my favorite so far.

The Vagina Monologues at Liceo U AVR 1 – April 2017 (Workshop photos taken at Fit Republic. AVR photo from Leslie Encong-Yap)

But as long as I can and as long as there will be people willing to volunteer and perform (TVM is a benefit show), I will continue staging The Vagina Monologues. Even if the people who have been with the production for years decide to move on to greener pastures. Even if we continue to earn just enough money to pay for the venue (and to feed the cast and crew).

As long as there are people – men and women – who believe that the stories of women from all over the world deserve to be heard, I will stage The Vagina Monologues.

Why?

So why did I choose (or will continue to choose) The Vagina Monologues over other shows that can be potential moneymakers? Because if I don’t, I’m not sure somebody else will. Because if I don’t, the show’s message won’t be heard. Because I am a woman. And my husband, my father, my male relatives and friends – and everyone else – deserves to know why I embrace my being a woman.

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