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The Carletonian

Stripped, to include all voices

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Last spring, students Kathleen George ’16 and Emily Clark ’17 interviewed over eighty members of the Carleton community to create an original production, titled “Stripped,” based on the format of Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues. Written by George and directed by Clark, “Stripped” premieres Saturday, February 27th at 7 p.m. in the chapel, and seeks to be more inclusive, open, and representative of the Carleton community.

During last year’s production of the Vagina Monologues, Clark noticed that “there were a lot of problematic things with” Ensler’s original script that did “not fit within our community’s culture,” but the directors were legally prohibited from altering the script. As a narrator for last year’s performance, George noticed that, “I felt like I didn’t identify with any of the stories, and I was wondering if people felt that too. I wondered if [the audience] would realize how problematic the Vagina Monologues are if they see monologues that they actually identify with.”

Together with Clark she decided to create a new production specifically based on stories and interviews gathered from Carleton students, alumni, professors, and staff. Wanting to include “as many stories as possible,” George, who is the author of “Stripped,” edited and combined interviews to create thirteen monologues, but altered them sufficiently to “make them completely anonymous.”

“We chose stories that aren’t often told, and that might shock the community,” said George, who has chosen to make the production their English COMPS.

Over sixty people auditioned for twenty-six roles, and the auditions were open to all members of the Carleton community.

“We had people who identify as male and non-binary audition,” said George, which they say has brought greater diversity to the cast. “About half of the cast are people of color, which is great, because each person brings different experiences,” they said.

Janella Yuquilima ’16, participated in the Vagina Monologues her sophomore year and is performing a monologue for “Stripped.” She said that while the Vagina Monologues was “empowering and very informative… ‘Stripped’ is trying to incorporate everyone’s experiences and instances. These are real stories, real people, and I wanted to help give those stories a voice.”

“It’s interesting that Kat decided to name it ‘Stripped,’ because it’s going to be a vulnerable and naked performance, and it’s going to affect a lot of people, especially in the audience,” said Yuquilima. She added that “it’s going to make people feel uncomfortable at times, but I’m excited for that. It will be interesting to see how the audience reacts and see how stripped they get.”

Clark said that “the Vagina Monologues’ focus is to affirm, which is great, and we hope to affirm as well, but we’re also shedding light on diversity and more diverse experiences.” “I’m a big fan of the Vagina Monologues,” said “Stripped” cast member Thomas Hiura ’17, “because it creates a really important space and platform for discussion. But I’m excited that Kathleen and Emily are taking on an initiative that is going to be all inclusive, with regard to gender expression and gender identity.”

Yuquilima noted that “the experience is going to affect me in a lot different ways that Vagina Monologues didn’t,” while Hiura said that his monologue examining masculinity has helped him “think a lot more about my own gender identity.”

Hiura added that “I’m so proud to be at Carleton, where we are not only a part of this progressive movement towards a more liberal and liberated society with regards to gender, identity, and expression, but that we’re actively shaping the narrative.”

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