This weekend the annual presentation of the Eve Ensler "Vagina Monologues" is Penny Lipsey's senior project toward her theater degree at Minot State University.
"I'm the event coordinator and had to register with national," she said.
Lipsey was referring to the "V-Day Campaign" observances based on the Ensler play which take place around the world on or about Valentine's Day.
The "V" stands for victory over violence against women as well as vagina, and proceeds from events are used exclusively for that purpose, with 90 percent staying in the community and 10 percent supporting a particular need.
"This year the spotlight is Haiti, with a monologue about the problems of violence in the wake of the earthquake there," said Ashley Nilsen, director. "Local money is going to the Minot Domestic Violence Crisis Center."
The production is being held in the Black Box Theater in Hartnett Hall, a more intimate space for an intimate subject. The performers doing staged readings are newcomers Jenny Castro, Janie Council, Amanda Thomas and Ann Cadwalader. Anna Jung, a military member, has performed it elsewhere, it is Holly Pope's second year and Sara Gietzen has been in almost every production at MSU. Cheryl Nilsen, the director's mother, has also participated several times in the program, which involves reading the interviews Ensler has done over the years with women in a variety of situations.
"A lot of different emotions surface," Ashley Nilsen said. "It will make you laugh, make you think, maybe make you feel better about yourself. It will certainly give you a better idea of what's happening in the world. It's an entertaining way to help out your community."
"We encourage men to help out," Lipsey said. "They are welcome to come, of course, and we have men helping out backstage with concessions and lighting and such, but they are not allowed to perform. There are rules laid out (by the national committee) about how long the show will run and how much local input is permitted."
The 90-minute run time is designed to allow discussion following the show.
"The Vagina Monologues" will be presented today through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at a cost of $10 per seat. Discretion concerning subject matter is advised, as there are very adult themes discussed.