Vicksburg actors take the stage to raise awareness for women’s issues
Published 3:59 pm Wednesday, May 24, 2023
The Westside Theatre Foundation is set to present a play with a title that may raise a few eyebrows.
However, one can’t turn a blind eye to a show that helped launch V-Day, a global non-profit movement that has raised more than $100 million for groups working to end violence against women.
Beginning at 7:30 p.m. June 2 at the Strand Theatre,717 Clay St. three local women will perform “The Vagina Monologues.”
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Written by Eve Ensler in 1996, the play is made up of personal monologues that focus on women’s issues, many of which can be uncomfortable to discuss but are nonetheless important for both women and men to understand, appreciate and respect when it comes to the anatomy of the female body.
“This show says things out loud that people don’t like to talk about, and it forces you to confront ideas that people don’t want to think about,” Jai Dobson Reeves said.
Reeves, one of three actors performing in the show, admitted the monologues can make you feel uncomfortable, “But in a good way.”
Nia Hurst and Nikki Ciciora are the other two women taking the stage with Reeves.
“These monologues have to be told,” Ciciora said, because they are pertinent and relatable.
“I got emotional doing one of the monologues,” Ciciora said. “Because I could relate.”
Speaking as the father of three daughters and having a mother, grandmother and sisters, Jack Burns, the director of the play, said he feels “The Vagina Monologues” is a show with a message.
“It’s like a lot of theater. It’s holding the mirror up to society and putting things in perspective,” Burns said. “And like Jai said, it’s OK to talk about this (the female body and sexuality), especially now with the emphasis we have on emotional wellbeing. If half the population (women) is walking around repressed about their bodies, then that’s not good.”
Hurst said if the play was called “Women’s Monologues,” the content would be very similar.
“It explores the whole spectrum of womanhood,” she said.
Reeves said the entirety of “The Vagina Monologues” is “definitely” a show where one can experience everything from “deep belly laughs to some deep crying.”
And from these emotional expressions, an underlying message of self-confidence is realized.
“I think one of the most beautiful and wonderful things about this show is that it also talks about you becoming comfortable with yourself,” Reeves said.
Burns, like Reeves, said, “Most people are going to come here, and they are going to laugh and cry. And they are going to be shocked and identify with some components of it (the play) and they are going to go, ‘Yeah that was awesome.’”
Additional performances of “The Vagina Monologues” are June 3, 9 and 10. Tickets are $10 and available at www.eventbrite.com/e/vagina-monologues-tickets-641295430897.