Monologues to give voice to Michiana women

by Nikita Zook, Contributing Writer

The Michiana Monologues, a collection of stories written and performed by local women as anonymous monologues, will be performed Thursday in Rieth Recital Hall. The program is hosted by the Goshen College social work department and women’s studies program.

A guest performance by The Bergamot, a South Bend Americana duo with a soulful, modern pop sound, will open the show.

The Michiana Monologues are organized each year by a student-led club at Indiana University South Bend. They were initially inspired by Eve Ensler’s award winning production, “The Vagina Monologues,” which has been performed around the world since 1996 as a way to raise funds for women’s anti-violence groups. For several years, “The Vagina Monologues” were performed at IUSB as a fundraiser, until 2008, when the idea for The Michiana Monologues was born.

“The monologues are important because they give voice to a wide variety of human experience,” said Jessie Gotwals, a senior nursing major, who has attended the Michiana Monologues twice. “You hear stories of success, friendship, eating disorders, sisters, sexual violence, obesity, gender roles, clothing. You hear stories that are funny, frustrating, shocking, inspiring, sobering, taboo.”

Although important aspects of the Michiana Monologues include education, entertainment and increased awareness of women’s issues, the main purpose of the show is to raise funds for local organizations that support women in crisis.

This year, because the local chapter of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) is underwriting the costs of the Goshen College performance, all proceeds will go to local non-profits that work to stop violence against women.

Agencies who will receive support this year include SOS of the Family Justice Center, YWCA of North Central Indiana, Elkhart County Women’s Shelter, GLBT Resource Center of Michiana, Planned Parenthood of Indiana, Maple City Health Care Center and Indiana Legal Services Inc. Last year over $10,000 was raised.

When asked why the Michiana Monologues were being hosted by Goshen College this year, Jeanne Liechty, department chair of the social work department, replied, “Why fight fate?”

Liechty had received a call from the AAUW, asking if there were any campus events they could sponsor. A few days earlier, Carol Jarvis, professor of social work, had spoken with April Lidinsky, a professor of women’s studies at IUSB and faculty advisor for the student club that produces the Monologues. Lidinsky had asked if Goshen College would be willing to host a performance. The details seemed to fall into place quickly after these initial conversations.

Lidinsky also contacted Colleen Geier, department chair of the ASL department, for help interpreting the show. Despite the fact that most of her current students are new to ASL this year, Geier said she “realized it was a great opportunity” and is confident they will do a good job. Geier will also be interpreting many of the more difficult or emotionally intense stories.

“The Michiana Monologues provide a forum for women to speak their truth,” Geier said. “Some are funny; some are tragic and touching.”

In a recent interview on WVPE, the local NPR station, Lidinsky said that “speaking out is really the bravest, most important act that any of us can do to create change.” Lidinsky added that she hopes people “leave feeling energized and empowered” by the stories that they hear.

The performance will start at 7 p.m. Tickets go on sale at the door at 6:30 p.m. Cost is $5 for students and $10 for general admission.

More information about a new production, The Manalogues, can be found at www.themanologues.org.

Written by vanessamh

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