By Marty Finley

What began as an idea to give women empowerment over sexual and domestic violence has exploded into a worldwide phenomenon celebrating survival and triumph. VDay, a global movement promoting prevention against sexual violence, is now celebrating its tenth year. And one of the flagship events, the Vagina Monologues, is making its return to Eastern. Plans are underway to make the event one of the biggest ever, according to Elizabeth DeSanto, director of the Vagina Monologues program at Eastern.

The event, which will be held on Feb. 28 and 29, will feature a cast of 22 females presenting different monologues ranging through a various array of topics, each triggering different emotions from the women, DeSanto said.

The auditions were held Nov. 12 and Nov. 15 and every woman on campus was invited to audition, DeSanto said. Once the women arrived, they rehearsed a “cold read”, during which they read from a selection of five unfamiliar monologues.

DeSanto said the auditions this year welcomed several fresh faces, each talented and passionate about working in the program.

“A lot of people who auditioned, when we saw them audition, we were just like ‘Damn,'” DeSanto said, discussing the level of talent exhibited in the auditions.

DeSanto said they chose the final cast Nov. 26 and have begun working on set design and plans for the actual show. And for the new talent in the show, the Christmas break was time for “memorization, memorization, memorization,” said Jamie Karolich, stage manager for the Vagina Monologues.

“Without memorizing the lines, we cannot find that beautiful place [inside them],” DeSanto said.

DeSanto said she also plans to make the event more theatrical this year, creating a coffee shop backdrop so the women can discuss their issues in a more realistic setting. DeSanto and Marolich are now working with each girl on their lines before the group rehearsals begin, DeSanto said.

While the event has been at Eastern for several years now, some may still not understand the point behind the program, DeSanto said. However, she said she believes anyone can appreciate it with an open mind.

“Whether you are male or female, everyone has a mother, everyone has a sister; women that they love,” DeSanto said.