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Monologues’ draw crowds, praise

Kelly Meehan | Monday, February 20, 2006

The second annual SMC Monologues related the emotionally stirring personal narratives of Saint Mary’s students, faculty, staff and Sisters of The Holy Cross to large crowds in two weekend performances, raising more than $750 for S.O.S, the local rape crisis center, and the Y.W.C.A.

Twenty-seven actresses performed the original monologues in Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon productions that were modeled after Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues.”

“You couldn’t have the SMC Monologues anywhere else,” senior actress Stephanie Snyder said. “The culture, the context – it is our space, our words, our stories, our pain, our joy, our lives. These monologues are by our community, for our community.”

Campus Alliance for Rape Prevention faculty advisor and psychology professor Catherine Pittman said the personal touch of the SMC Monologues fosters a better response than “The Vagina Monologues.”

“We could do ‘The Vagina Monologues,’ but we choose to do this because it’s the best thing we could do [for the College] community,” Pittman said.

The sometimes-controversial play “The Vagina Monologues” has not been performed on the campus since 2004, but has not banned by the administration, Pittman said.

Pittman said many members of the College faculty and administration – including College President Carol Mooney and Vice President of Student Affairs Linda Timm – attended the weekend performances.

“I think it is a good educational experience for them, and it is good for them to hear [the Monologues],” she said.

Both Mooney and Timm were audience members at the 2 p.m. SMC Monologues performance on Sunday.

“This is an especially powerful performance because it is the stories of our women,” Mooney told The Observer following the Monologues.

She declined further comment Sunday.

Timm said the Monologues’ internal focus on the College community reflects the “courage and great deal of faith” of Saint Mary’s students, faculty and Sisters.

“I think it is important that we have a variety of programs that present information on topics of sexuality, personal safety, health and wellness for women, violence against women, et cetera,” Timm said. “No one approach speaks to everyone. Not everyone will feel comfortable at the SMC Monologues, and not everyone will attend other programs that we present on campus.”

SMC Monologues producer Ginger Francis said she was very pleased with the event’s outcome.

“When [audience members] walk out after the SMC Monologues, [they] will be changed forever,” she said. “These monologues don’t represent [everyone], but many people … I hope they will see diversity and break the image of there being a sole stereotypical Saint Mary’s woman … and they will suddenly realize they are not alone.”

Junior Becky Susner said the SMC Monologues presented an effective message to the College community.

“I thought that it was a wonderful experience,” she said. “It was interesting to see how issues at Saint Mary’s are viewed in society.”

Junior Grace Guebert said the SMC Monologues were “empowering, memorable and moving.”

“They bring a stronger sense of sisterhood and support to Saint Mary’s,” she said.

Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership research analyst and monologues actress Joy Evans said the SMC Monologues serve as a “very powerful process for personal, as well as community healing and growth.”

“I hope people walk away realizing how amazing and complex SMC women … are and how important it is for every man and woman to make a personal commitment to end sexual violence in their communities,” Evans said.