“A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant, and A Prayer” is a play which represents a strong message for survivors and those affected by violence. The St. Ambrose women’s studies 201 class, Women’s Honor Society Triota, and Intercultural Life sponsored the event.
The V-Day celebration is rich in history. The event was started by Eve Ensler as a means to help put a stop and advocate against the violence of women. Each year, “A Memory, Rant and Monologue” is put on throughout the world.
“Eve Ensler wanted to declare V-Day to stop violence against women so she decided to create this movement and put on a play every Valentine’s Day, and now it even goes longer, from Feb. 14 through April,” Director of Women’s Studies Katy Strzepek said. “It’s pretty amazing… she’s done some really great things.”
During the night student performers participated in telling an important story. Some were stories about violence and others were rants which included the occasional slapping of the stage to help create the reality of the story being told. The stories were told by students but written by people who were affected in some way by the issue of violence.
To bring the event out more visually, the performers wore a significant symbol to represent V-Day’s cause. Wearing red signaled an important element of the recognition of women’s violence around the world.
“I think red is the significance of Valentine’s Day, and for V-Day the logo is red, so that’s why students usually wear red,” Strzepek said.
Before and after the play, student participants were responsible for making the night happen successfully. As student director of the V-Day play for the past two years, Kelsey Rentfro had the responsibility of getting the show completed.
“As student director, I was ultimately in charge of organizing volunteers who wanted to read, meeting with them, assigning their monologues and deciding attire for the event,” Rentfro said. “Part of the rules of the show set forth by Eve Ensler say that everyone who wants to participate in the show should be able to participate. This was a little hectic for me because I originally got over 35 e-mails of people interested in the show, and not enough spots.”
The performers were the ones to tell the reality of what happens in violent situations. For Rentfro, the idea of performing was something special and meaningful to her.
“It’s a little nerve-wracking being on stage and feeling very exposed as you take on the voice of a woman or man who is very vulnerable, but it’s exhilarating and empowering to give your voice to a story that needs to be told,” Rentfro said.
The planning of V-Day made the night successful and many were responsible for the hard work that took place to complete the event. Aside from student participation, local businesses and the SAU community helped contribute raffle items and donations for the night.
The advocating of violence, particularly of women, was the V-Day initiative and the success of the show went directly to two different causes dealing with the issue. Local business Family Resources received a large portion of the proceeds to help stop violence-related situations. On a more global level, the event’s proceeds supported Haiti’s women shelters affected by the aftermath of the earthquake in 2009.
“Ninety percent of the proceeds will go to Family Resources, which provides women’s shelters for abused women and children,” Strzepek said. “Ten percent of our funds and then ten percent of everybody’s funds who does the V-Day show will go to support women’s shelters and women’s services in Haiti.”
V-Day sends a powerful message to the community. Through sharing stories about the reality of violence, it allows the local, national and international communities to come together. The result is a message that violence toward anyone is a serious problem that needs to be stopped.