By Rebecca Anderson, Contributing Writer

The Vagina Monologues once again embarrassed and awakened audience members Friday and Saturday night at the University of New Hampshire. Men and women alike found humor and understanding in the gritty performance, produced by a cast and crew of solely university students.

The Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention Program (SHARPP) collaborates with the Women’s Studies Program to sponsor the Vagina Monologues each year, giving technical and marketing support.

The production is a collaborative effort that kicks off Feminist Week at UNH.

“The Vagina Monologues have been coming to UNH or have been presented by UNH since the late ‘90s,” said Maggie Wells, the education and outreach coordinator for SHARPP. 

Angela Lawrence-Hurt was one of the first cast members on stage, introducing everyone into the commanding world of vaginas. She had been inspired by previous performances to join the cast.

“I saw them last year at Simmons College, and again here at UNH, and knew immediately that I wanted to audition, or be a part of the show in some way,” Lawrence-Hurt said.

The group of women that crafted the 2015 performance ranged from freshman to seniors.

Planning for this year’s show began in December of last year, when the two directors, Olivia Fiore and Samantha Webb, were chosen to lead the Vagina Monologues.

Auditions for cast members followed.

“When we auditioned, we were given options of which monologues to read from, and then we got the cast list a day or two later,” Lawrence-Hurt said. “We’ve had only a few rehearsals, but everything came together really well.”

The audience members filed in and were welcomed with amusing vagina related facts on each chair.

The directors then came out to mention that all of the proceeds go to the national V-Day organization and SHARPP, and the show began.

The performance had some minor hiccups, to be expected with opening night. The cast and crew had organized the scenes in a way that granted smooth transitions and opened up the floor as a stage itself.

In the audience, women were the majority, but there were certainly men that joined in the festivities.

“Originally I came because two of my friends, Jen Turner and Gwenn Higgins are in it, but as I learned more about it, it became more of a leisure activity than a supporting one,” said Jeffrey Lee, a student in the audience.

He found that the Vagina Monologues could be a learning experience for men while expanding a woman’s understanding of her own body. 

Regarding viewing the Vagina Monologues, Lee recommends that all men should see it.

“No guy should have to fear being too feminine, just like no girl should have to fear being too masculine,” Lee said.

The show was a combination of many things. There was a powerful message to be spread that transcends gender, religion or sexual orientation.

“Olivia and Sam are such amazing directors and it’s been a joy getting to work with them and all the other women,” Lawrence-Hurt said. “We really appreciate everyone’s support by coming to the show.”