“I bet you’re worried,” stated Cassidy Sadowski ’22 as she stared out at the audience. Sadowski and three other performers, all donned in black with pink yarn “pussyhats” on each of their heads, stood face-to-face with the audience at the four corners of the dark stage.
“I think what makes this show unique is that we have a age range of kids age 15 or 14 to 18 and we’re all able to come together at a high school and put on this show that many other schools just wouldn’t be allowed you to. The explicit content and the trigger warnings and everything that’s so important that it represents that are silenced at other places are so welcomed here at Andover,” said Sadowski.
“The Vagina Monologues,” directed by Rhea Prem ’19, took place this past Friday and Saturday by a cast of about 20 people. Originally written by Eve Ensler as a one woman show, Prem wanted to involve as many women as possible in Andover’s production.
“I wasn’t really looking for anybody who had experience. Having experience in theater definitely helped, but I wanted it to be open to all women who had all different levels of theater experience because it’s more of a show for yourself, too like discovering yourself and who you are as a person,” said Prem.
The “Vagina Monologues” told common but controversial stories about vaginas. The production featured cast members on stage in groups saying short individual lines in response to questions such as “What does your vagina smell like?” as well as long, solo monologues.
“I liked that we had a space where talking about vaginas and talking about your period and talking about orgasms is celebrated, and it was performed as art, and it’s not something that we wanted to do in secret, and it wasn’t something shameful. I think that was my favorite part, seeing everyone get to do this and tell their stories,” said performer Emma Slibeck ’20.
Many of the cast members shared the stories of the women interviewed for the monologues. Sadowski found the experience and the ability to be open about the topic to be empowering.
“I feel like my favorite part of the show was just coming together and working on it and just realizing that as a whole when putting the show together what it represented, and all of the voices of women who were silenced about the subjects that we talked about in the show and just talking about their vaginas,” said Sadowski.
According to Prem, one of the most unique aspects of the play was the range of women interviewed. It featured a wide variety of female’s viewpoints on vaginas.
“There’s as young as a six year old girl and as old as, I want to say, a 70 or 80 [year old] woman, so that just the backgrounds, the ages, it doesn’t even have the full breadth of women that you can get, but it does have a really big diversity,” said Prem.
The “Vagina Monologues” talked about many controversial topics, such as periods and orgasms, which is something audience member Sarika Rao ’19 admired about the show.
“I think in a lot of pieces of art and production and stuff, you beat around the bush a little bit and make implications about a topic without talking about them head on. I think this show does a really good job of putting it out in the open,” said Rao.
“It’s like art and as something we should be celebrating and not like it’s shameful, and seeing a bunch of my classmates getting up on stage and yelling words like clitoris or a bunch of [Junior] boys who were all like ‘gasp!’ clitoris, that was really funny to watch,” added Slibeck.