‘Vagina Monologues’: Women’s Center holds auditions for popular production

Michelle Heiman

Created to evoke awareness about domestic violence, the “Vagina Monologues” auditions were held last Friday and Saturday by the UMKC Women’s Center.

The performance will be 7:30 p.m. Feb. 21 in the Student Union Theater as  part of the Women’s Center’s V-Day Campaign, which also includes V-Men workshops and educational tabling.

The directors, Kelly Rifenbark, UMKC Women’s Center Violence Prevention Coordinator,  and Michelle Kroner, Victim Services Adjudication Advisor, said approximately 20-30 people pre-registered to audition.

“We can audition up to 40 [people] if need be,” Rifenbark said. “It’s based on the number of monologues Eve has asked us to perform. This year, we’re wanting to cast 20-25 people.”

Anyone who identifies as female is eligible to audition for the “Vagina Monologues.”

Students, staff, faculty and community members are encouraged to audition.

“We want a diverse cast,” Rifenbark said. “We want people sitting in the audience and looking up and finding themselves in the cast.”

Kroner said people who audition range from age 18 to people in their 60s.

“Their passion for being involved is always something that’s my favorite part of being involved in this,” she said. “I’m glad we’re able to give them the opportunity to be a part of what’s really a global movement.”

Those who audition will be notified Nov. 16 of the casting decisions.

There will be a mixer for cast members in December, a couple of individual sessions in January, one mandatory group rehearsal and a dress rehearsal the night before the performance.

“We want people to come onstage and be seen as genuine, everyday people,” Rifenbark said. “They can even have the script on stage with them, so that people realize these are real women’s stories.”

Mitra Pedram, who earned her teaching certificate at UMKC in 2010, auditioned Friday, and had performed in the 2010 “Vagina Monologues.”

“The ‘Vagina Monologues’ is a collection of stories that makes you think about women in different ways,” she said.

Lola Oduyeru, who graduated in May with a bachelor’s in political science, also auditioned Friday.

“Make sure you watch with an open mind,” she said to prospective viewers of the “Vagina Monologues.”

Renée Blanche, a community member and KCUR employee, auditioned for the fifth time on Friday, having performed four times.

“Be prepared for some raw subject matter and a raw presentation,” she said of the Monologues. “It combines the comedy and drama of real women’s experiences.”

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