If vaginas could talk…

Natalie Adelaj and Lindsay Lightfoot

Photo by Megan Downs

This year, the University of Nevada, Reno, along with 543 other schools, has joined the efforts of a group called V-Day, which seeks to raise money for organizations that help prevent violence directed toward women. At UNR, a cast of local women are performing Eve Ensler’s play, The Vagina Monologues, which has run for nearly three years with a rotating cast of celebrities in New York City. The play, sponsored by UNR’s Women’s Resource Center, is co-directed by Natalie Adelaj (pictured left) and Lindsay Lightfoot. Adelaja is an undergraduate student pursuing a dual major in women’s studies and journalism. Lightfoot, a WRC intern, is working toward a master’s degree in social work. The play’s first performance on Feb. 12 was a sell-out. The next performance will be Feb. 22 in the Jot Travis Student Union on the UNR campus. For ticket info, call the Women’s Resource Center at 784-4611.

What is The Vagina Monologues about?

Adelaja: It’s about vaginas. The play’s author interviewed a variety of women from different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. It is about abuse, rape and how women have come to love their vaginas as an integral part of themselves instead of feeling detached.

Lightfoot: The play is sad, touching and funny. Every woman can relate to it in one place.

How can you relate to it?

Lightfoot: Personally, I am a survivor of domestic violence and rape. I feel the play is the best way to get the message across.

Adelaja: I have no experience with violence, but I have always felt connected to my womanhood, and I was compelled to share my passion.

How was the cast selected?

Lightfoot: We held open auditions with UNR students and staff. The cast ranges in age from 45 to 18. It is a cast of 23 women including the two of us. The play’s regulations will only allow cast members who are affiliated with the university because of other professional productions.

What do you hope to achieve with this performance?

Adelaja: We hope to open minds. There will be a variety of people there. Women will see that their vaginas are not shameful or dirty. I hope people will learn something they weren’t aware of before.

What have you learned from directing the play?

Lightfoot: How unique women are. At our [rehearsals], there were a few quiet and awkward moments, but we have developed a family of women.

Adelaja: There is nothing more powerful than a community of women united for a cause. We really are making a difference.

Have you ever felt awkward while directing the play?

Lightfoot: I felt a little uncomfortable when women said they were doing the play for selfish reasons. The cast also felt awkward when we made them answer the question, "If your vagina could talk right now, what would it say?"