Forty Bowdoin women practiced for four hours each day last week in preparation for The Vagina Monologues return to Bowdoin's this weekend.

Raya Gabry '10, Emma Verrill '10, and Anna Ausubel '10 directed this year's Bowdoin production of Eve Ensler's nationally acclaimed and world renowned play.

While the same basic script is used each year, optional monologues are added by Ensler to give the audience something new to hear. New women also perform each monologue, which Verrill said makes it "feel like a different show every year."

"As directors, we try not to really direct people as much as a normal director would because we have been influenced by what we've seen in the past," said Gabry, "so we try to give each actress a chance to develop their own interpretation of the monologue because that's what makes it different every year."

Each year, V-Day also chooses a special spotlight campaign to be the last monologue in the production. Last year and this year the monologue has focused on the Democratic Republic of Congo because of the unrelenting method of using rape as a tactic of war.

"Hearing the spotlight monologue for the first time is very moving," said Gabry. "I think that unfortunately since we've seen the show so many times and heard the monologues so many times, it is not a strong reaction every single time."

"When you are directing, you can't let yourself feel the emotions every single time, but when I'm watching the whole show I try to take a step back and remind myself to really listen and get the full impact of it."

Both Gabry and Verrill said that the Vagina Monologues often vocalize what others are too afraid to talk about. The more difficult monologues are there to illuminate the frequent occurrence of sexual assault and to show others that they are not alone.

"It does amaze me how the funny parts of the show still make me laugh and the hard parts of the show still give me a pit in my stomach," said Verrill. "I think the best part about the show is that when you do meet someone who sees it for the first time and they tell you how they were affected and that makes you self-reflect and say, 'Oh, this is why we do the show.'"

Auditions for this year's production began last November, and everyone who expressed interest was invited to join the cast and crew.

In January, the women held a retreat at the Coastal Studies Center where they got to know each other, since it can be hard to become acquainted during such intense and personal rehearsal sessions.

Kerry Townsend '13 said she decided to join the cast as a spur of the moment choice with her roommate.

"I'm a little nervous about it. I did a little acting in high school but nothing this out-there. In the beginning, it was kind of hard and uncomfortable, but now I'm definitely more comfortable with it," said Townsend.

Gabry and Verrill both joined the Vagina Monologues cast when they were first years after becoming involved in V-Day. Their sophomore year, they shadowed their directors, and this year they were picked, along with Ausubel, lead the show.

For the first time at Bowdoin, the production will feature a monologue in both English and Spanish performed by Assistant Professor of Spanish Nadia Celis.

Gabry said the directors decided to do this after seeing a monologue performed in four different languages at V-Day's 10th Anniversary event in New Orleans in 2008.

"I hope that the audiences realizes that sexual assault affects women all over the world. But, most importantly [for our production] it affects women at Bowdoin, and men for that matter," said Verrill.

"I hope they come away thinking it was a meaningful performance, but the most important thing for me is just that they are thinking and talking about it. They will hopefully learn things and become surprised by things," said Gabry.

Ninety percent of the proceeds generated from ticket sales will be donated to Sexual Assault Support Services of Midcoast Maine (SASSMM), while the other 10 percent will go to V-Day, Ensler's global organization founded to end sexual violence towards women.

Tickets are available at the David Saul Smith Union information desk and are $5 with a Bowdoin ID and $10 for general admission.

The Vagina Monologues will be showing tonight at 7:30 p.m. in Pickard Theatre and Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. in Kresge Auditorium. Following tonight's performance, there will be a cocktail party at the Bowdoin Outing Club starting at 9:30 p.m. where donations will be accepted for SASSMM.