V-Day on the Campus Stage
In a return to my high school theater roots (which had been fossilizing since I was 17), this past week I performed in NYU Law’s inaugural production of The Vagina Monologues. Eve Ensler’s now iconic stage show is put on by many organizations as a part of annual “V-Day” festivities,” a global movement designed to end violence against women and girls.
In January, I auditioned on a whim, having wanted to be a part of the production since my undergraduate institution put it on; but I had no idea that it would be such a success, or that I would have so much fun being a part of the cast (see below).
Going in, I didn’t really know what to expect out of the experience; this seemed like a show typically put on by college students, with a much larger community from which to draw for both its cast and its audience. On top of this, I’m not sure if you’ve heard these nasty rumors, but law students are pretty busy. They don’t really have a lot of time to organize an entire theater production—let alone rehearse sufficiently to make it a good one.
To be honest, I questioned whether we’d be able to sell enough tickets to fill Tishman Auditorium, the law school’s large 400-seat space; I questioned how my classmates and professors would respond to the sometimes out-there content of the monologues; I questioned how we would be able to put together any kind of cohesive show in five weeks.
In the end, all of my worries were utterly unfounded; I did not give my peers here at NYU enough credit. The producers and directors, all law students (two of them first-years), were fantastic. I guess that’s the benefit of another one of those rumors you hear about law students: they’re organized and effective at pretty much anything they take on. This was no thrown-together or amateur affair; we had lighting and costumes and t-shirts and even hand-made chocolate lollipops to accompany our ticket sales.
I was also simply blown away by the level of talent of my fellow classmates. Their renditions of these familiar monologues made me laugh, gave me chills, left me wondering why some of these women were in law school rather than pursuing an acting career.
And finally, I was overwhelmed by the support of the law school community as a whole. I had heard the audience’s loud and ample cheering during the rest of the show, but as I walked onstage to begin my monologue and looked out at the nearly-filled auditorium, the effusiveness and rock-solidity of the school community took me aback even more than the bright spotlight now shining in my eyes. In my first year here, I’ve had more than a few “this is why I chose NYU” moments; but this one was among the most resonant.