Bowdoin V-Day will bring together a record number of 50 women in its 18th annual production of the “Vagina Monologues” today and Saturday in Kresge Auditorium. With stories spanning from birth to body image to rape, the “Vagina Monologues” focuses on representing the vagina as a tool of female empowerment and creating dialogue around women’s experiences. The show has added a new monologue to represent trans women this year. 

This year’s performance is directed by Callie Ferguson ’15, Xanthe Demas ’15 and Amanda Spiller ’17 with the support of Bowdoin V-Day co-leaders Kaylee Wolfe ’15 and Leah Alper ’17. 

With such a high number of participants this year, adjustments were made to accommodate a part for every woman who auditioned. For this reason, “Speak!,” a compilation of Bowdoin women’s experiences produced by Bowdoin V-Day, was appended to the show. 

Another modification in this year’s production responds to recent critiques that the show essentializes women around their anatomy to the exclusion of trans women. The script now includes a monologue based on interviews with a diverse group of trans women titled, “They Beat the Girl out of My Boy...Or So They Tried.”

“We’re really happy that we finally have that voice being filled,” said Ferguson.

For cast members, the show provides both a means of confronting women’s issues on campus and interacting with a community of proactive and engaged people. 

“I think we’re all working together towards something that both helps us express ourselves and creates a space for the audience to express themselves,” said Abby Motycka ’17, a first-time participant. 

“Women gain a lot of confidence from being in the show. It’s a climate of support over some sensitive issues,” added Ferguson. 

The show also aims to increase dialogue surrounding a variety of women’s experiences, both positive and negative. According to Ferguson, cast members become ambassadors for spreading the message of the show.  

“The fact that other women are comfortable with sharing their stories helps foster an environment in which other people can share in the same way,” said Motycka. 

“The impact of the show extends beyond the production itself,” added Ferguson.

In the same way the show covers a wide range of stories and experiences, the fifty-member cast spans from first years to seniors. 

“It’s a really awesome way to see a lot of different demographics on campus combined,” said Demas. 

While participants received the script in the fall, Ferguson and Demas organized the hour-long production within the past two weeks. 

“This compression means that each night is really dense with getting at these issues,” said Ferguson. “When you’re in it, you’re in it. It’s an immersive experience.”

For Alper, broadening the impact of the V-Day mission is the most rewarding part about being involved in the Vagina Monologues. 

“I hope it sparks discussion,” said Alper. “The fact that there are so many people up there saying the word ‘vagina’...maybe people will leave feeling more comfortable talking about vaginas or things they wouldn’t normally talk about.”

V-Day is a global movement born out of Eve Ensler’s “Vagina Monologues,” a show that takes place on Valentine’s Day each year and works to end violence against women and girls. Bowdoin’s V-Day chapter sponsors the “Vagina Monologues” and other events throughout the year to raise awareness with the same goals. 

The performances are tonight and tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. in Kresge Auditorium. Tickets can be purchased at the Smith Union Information Desk for $5. All proceeds from the production, including the annual Vagina Bake Sale which precedes the show, benefit Sexual Assault Support Services of Midcoast Maine (SASSMM).