URI students to perform Vagina Monologues, Feb. 26-28

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KINGSTON, R.I. –February 23, 2009–University of Rhode Island students will direct and perform The Vagina Monoloques Thursday, Feb. 26, Friday, Feb. 27, and Saturday, Feb. 28 at 8 p.m. in Edwards Auditorium, 64 Upper College Road, Kingston. Tickets are $7 for students and $10 for the general public. Doors will open at 7 p.m. Tickets are on sale at the Box Office in the Memorial Union, 50 Lower College Road, Kingston and will also be available the nights of the show.

The Vagina Monologues is the cornerstone to a movement known as V-Day, which takes place throughout the world between February and March and is dedicated to ending violence toward women. The movement, started by Eve Ensler, provides material for performances, which are ways to raise funding for this cause and also spread awareness.

URI students have presented this play for the past six years. While student-acted and student-directed, the students receive any needed support from the Peer Advocates program, a violence prevention group overseen by Keith Labelle and Jen Longa-Moio at URI’s Women Center. Ninety percent of the play’s profits will support the URI program. The remaining 10 percent will go to the international organization.

Anna Siradze, a senior marketing student, directs the play. She began organizing last August, auditioning, scheduling, and more. She notes that the 24-women cast now spends 20 to 30 hours a week in rehearsals.

“Awareness is the main reason this play is being performed. I feel that through the play, people really see the damage and pain violence toward women causes in our world. Living in the U.S., we don’t realize how awful it is in other countries for women who have no rights,” says Siradze. “The play sends a strong message –we need to be aware of this violence and we need to STOP this violence. The play ranges from serious, to funny, to heart wrenching. Despite having seen it many times, I still cry during certain monologues.

“I have seen the impact this play has had on the URI community and I can’t emphasis what a positive one it has been. It really brings us all together, women and men. It gives the female actors strength, a very strong sense of accomplishment. For the men, it’s a whole new world. It brings them into the world of women, helps them understand women more.

“I not only want the audience to realize how serious an issue violence toward women is, I want them to be moved enough to make a difference. Perhaps get involved in local programs such as The Peer Advocates, or establish their own groups that will hopefully someday eliminate violence toward women all together,” the student-director says.

“I would just like to add that we are lucky to be part of a progressive campus that does indeed think big. Big enough to tackle controversies and seek out the challenges in them. The Vagina Monologues gets its job done by being controversial. I know that sounds a bit strange, however, controversies have a way of raising people’s interest. Through this interest people go to see the play and are hopefully influenced by its message of the play to make that difference…more awareness, more response, more change.”

Below is a list of cast members and their hometowns

Turenne Beauvais, Smithfield, R.I.

Maxie Davidson, Centerville, Mass.

Alycia Essig, Warwick, R.I.

Mackenzie Harrington, Wakefield, R.I.

Juliette Holtzman, East Providence, R.I.

Jenna Iunnucilli, Johnston, R.I.

Brianna Knox, Auburn, Maine

Haleigh Lipnick, Westwood, N.J.

Marianne Lizotte, North Smithfield, R.I.

Karina Luna, Providence, R.I.

Courtney Malloy, Cheshire, Conn.

Melanie Martell, Chepachet, R.I.

Sarah Martone, Cranston, R.I.

Linzi Matta, Warwick, R.I.

Sallie Mazur, Block Island, R.I.

Kayla O’Connell, West Greenwich, R.I.

Ashley Pincins, Wakefield, R.I.

Katie Pirolli, Providence, R.I.

Allura Poulin, Nahant, Mass.

Leanna Rutter, Tiverton, R.I.

Case Santos, Providence, R.I.

Anna Siradze, Providence, R.I.

Kathleen Smith, North Kingstown, R.I.

Erica Snape, Enfield, Maine