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SMC, IUSB present Monologues

Sarah Gunn | Friday, April 3, 2009

A cast of 14 women from the South Bend community performed Thursday in the Bendix Theatre at the Century Center in downtown South Bend. The cast of women included Saint Mary’s students, Indiana University-South Bend (IUSB) students and alumnae and women in from the South Bend area.

The show opened to the cast dancing down the aisles of the theatre to song lyrics “women united will never be divided.” The cast, dressed in unique red and black outfits, converged on the stage to begin a series of solo, and sometimes two-person, performed monologues.

The Monologues were not written by the actresses themselves, but from anonymous female contributors from the South Bend community.

They featured stories about women’s lives and the experiences that have shaped them. The Monologues voiced women’s thoughts, feelings, opinions and reactions regarding a variety of issues.

Some of the performances were humorous, like “Feminine Hijinx” which was about feminine hygiene products performed by Aleta Maria Barajas from IUSB.

Another performance was delivered by Saint Mary’s student Brittany Hall. In, “The Rope,” her character divulged her experiences involving intimate pleasures.

Other performances were more sobering and saddening, like “I Was So Lucky” performed by Kathe Brunton. In the performance, a woman tells the story of her 1963 illegal abortion that left her with a “creepy, uneasy feeling of criminality.”

Several monologues about rape were performed, one in which the character says to her rapist, “[you] shattered the notion that the world is a safe place.

There were other pieces about gynecological appointments and vasectomies, as well as middle school sex education and “coming out.”

Megan Smith said that she became involved with the monologues after her Gender 100 class at IUSB. Her professor was involved in the Michiana Monologues and persuaded students to partake.

At one point while reading the “Vagina Monologues,” Megan said, “it clicked with me, this is why women are angry and why their voices need to be heard.”

She said she enjoyed being a part of the Monologues because “it is an area where women support each other.”

“[We] are too often pitted against one another,” she said.

Saint Mary’s students that were in the audience appreciated the opportunity to “break out of our bubble” of the Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame campuses, sophomore Annie Malloy said.

“The Saint Mary’s and South Bend Monologues were very different experiences. College women have a limited view of the world compared to women who are older than us. We don’t have the same experiences so it’s interesting to have that balance and have the stories of women of different generations,” Malloy said.

The closing number for the Monologues was performed by Saint Mary’s sophomore Hannahbeth Fischer. She delivered the piece “I’m the Girl,” about the struggles and triumphs of having a significant other in the military. During her closing lines, the cast systematically rose from their chairs and formed a line at the front of the stage.

“I liked the way they all joined me like we were all united. It was a powerful feeling to feel them stand behind me as support,” Fisher said.