Students update ‘Vagina Monologues’ to be more inclusive for 2015

Mary Mac Jones, Staff Reporter

Tulane’s annual take on Eve Ensler’s acclaimed play “The Vagina Monologues” will take place 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the Kendall Cram lecture room in the Lavin-Bernick Center.

“[Tulane’s production of “The Vagina Monologues”] is, if not the largest, one of the largest productions in the country,” director and junior Nina Baumgartner said. “We have over 150 cast and crew members this year.”

This year’s performance will include some deviations from the original distributed script, though.

 “[The changes will] reflect the cast and their experiences and make it more 2015 than 1990,” producer Samantha Campbell said.

“[They will] make it more specific to people on a college campus,” Baumgartner said.

Some of the variations were made to address concerns that the play does not value the experiences of transgender women who may or may not have a vagina, but still experience womanhood. Other universities have addressed this concern in “The Vagina Monologues” in various ways, including adding transgender woman dialogues, changing the name of the production and even canceling the event entirely.

Campbell said the Tulane production team has been in contact with other universities to discuss ways to make the show more progressive and inclusive for transgender women. Even though the cast is comprised mostly of cisgender women, the Tulane production will include a monologue involving transgender acceptance, aiming to avoid conflict with such a sensitive issue.

“Having a cisgender woman voice a trans narrative would be super problematic on a bunch of levels,” Campbell said.

First-time goers can expect to feel a wide gamut of emotions.

“Things will hit harder than you expect,” Baumgartner said. “It is a really informative experience for everyone, whether or not you identify with the same experiences as those in the monologues.”  

This production of “The Vagina Monologues” is, as always, will expose some poignant realities.