The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, February 14, 2000, Page 13, Image 13

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    Vagina play celebrates women, awareness
By Shelley Mika
Staff writer
“The Vagina Monologues” isn’t just another
play - it’s a play with a purpose.
Two purposes, actually.
To increase consciousness about women’s
experiences - especially those relating to their
vaginas - and to raise awareness about V-Day, a
campaign to end sexual violence against
Valentine’s is the day chosen for V-Day, a day
to demand the end of sexual abuse and celebrate
“V-Day was born out of the play,” said
Keri Wayne, the director of this year’s per
formance of “The Vagina Monologues.”
This year, more than 150 college cam- .i,
puses will perform “The Vagina J3|
Monologues” in honor of V-Day. For the J|
first time, the play will be performed fjjjm
in Lincoln, at the Seventh Street W' i
Loft. The cast is composed of 23 women
from all over the city, including some
from the university. ,
“The Vagina Monologues” is a com
pilation of individual monologues
about vaginas written by women.
Eve Ensler, writer of “The Vagina *
Monologues,” carried out interviews
with hundreds of women (as diverse as
a Long Island antiques dealer and a H
Bosnian refugee) to construct the series ■f|
of monologues included in the play.
“There are many different voices: -i
women from different ethnic and cultural
backgrounds, age differences, sexuality
differences. Not all of the women are femi
nists. They are all speaking from different
points of reference,” said Gretchen Obrist, a
UNL student performing in the play.
The themes involved in the play are
diverse, as are the women who address them.
“It covers a lot,” Obrist ^id. “Everything
you could think of that has to do with the vagina,
from developing as a woman, to sex and desire,
to relationships, to recovering from violence and
abuse to having an awareness of women’s place
in society.”
After the debut of “The Vagina Monologues”
at HERE, an off-Broadway theater in New York
City, the
V-Day was held in 1998.
To commemorate it, several notable per
formers, such as Susan Sarandon, Glenn Close,
Lily Tomlin, Calista Flockhart, Whoopi
Goldberg and Winona Ryder, performed “The
Vagina Monologues.”
Now, V-Day has evolved, and “The Vagina
Monologues” is performed on campuses across
the country. In 1999, 65 US campuses partici
pated in the V-Day College Initiative, introduc
ing the efforts to stop violence against women
into mainstream America.
The idea to expand V-Day to college cam
puses came from Ensler.
“The playwright got together with a woman
from and tried to think of the most
efficient way to get the play out and raise aware
ness,” Wayne said. “They thought, what better
way than through college campuses where
there’s a lot of ambition and motivation.”
In addition to raising money for programs
that help women, the national performances of
the play will raise awareness through its themes,
Wayne said. The profits from Lincoln’s perfor
mance of “The Vagina Monologues” will go to
the Rape and Spouse Abuse Crisis Center.
“The Vagina Monologues” may have a
serious goal, but humor is included in the
play, too.
“I can guarantee people will laugh and cry
and experience a whole range of emotions in
I between,” Wayne said.
■ f “I think it’ll raise awareness,” Obrist
f said, “but it’s entertaining, too - you can’t
/ forget that.”
» Some people may feel “The Vagina
Monologues” will address issues that make
them uncomfortable.
“It’s normal to be uncomfortable,”
Obrist said.
The discomfort of the audience is addressed
by the narrator of the play in hopes to dispel
those feelings, Obrist said. “It’s not a play where
you can sit back and say ‘that was a nice play.’ It
will make you think about things and the way
you act in your life,” Wayne said.
People shouldn’t be discouraged about
attending the performance, Wayne said.
“People shouldn’t be afraid of the title.
People really need to hear this message. It should
make a positive impact on people’s lives.”
‘Peanuts’ creator Schulz dies; fans of all ages mourn
SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) - “Peanuts” cre
ator Charles Schulz died Sunday at nome follow
ing a battle with cancer, just as the last original car
toon of his half-century career was being published
in newspapers worldwide.
The 77-year-old Schulz was diagnosed with
colon cancer in November, and his spirits recently
sagged as he battled the disease and pondered
retirement, said Monte Schulz, his eldest son.
“I think maybe he decided that his true passion
was in the strip, and when that was gone, it was
over,” Monte Schulz said Sunday. “He had done
what he had wanted to do, and that was it for him
His son said that while the cause of death
Saturday wasn’t known, “it appears he died in his
sleep, almost between breaths,” said his wife,
Jeannie, who was with him when he died.
On news of his passing, fans and colleagues
across the country hailed Schulz as an irreplace
able artist whose work over the years had become
infused in American popular culture.
“I think ‘Peanuts’ has been for most of its exis
tence the best comic strip in history, and nothing’s
ever approached it,” said Mell Lazarus, who draws
the “Momma” and “Miss Peach” strips, and knew
Schulz for 42 years. I
The famous strip - with its gerftle humor
spiked with a child’s-eye view of human foibles -
had at least one endearing trait: constancy.
Year after year, the long-suffering Charlie
Brown faced misfortune with a mild, “Good
grief!” Tart-tongued Lucy handed out advice at a
nickel a pop. And Snoopy, Charlie Brown’s wise
but-weird beagle, still took the occasional flight of
fancy back to the skies ofWorld War I and his rival
ry with the Red Baron.
The strip was an intensely personal effort for
Schulz. He had had a clause in his contract dictat
ing the strip had to end with his death - no one
could imitate it.
While banling cancer, he opted to retire it, say
ing he wanted to focus on his health and family
without the worry of a daily deadline.
His last daily comic ran in early January, and
the final farewell strip appeared in newspapers on
Sunday. Old versions of the strip will continue to
be published.
The last strip showed Snoopy at his typewriter
along with other “Peanuts” regulars, and a “Dear
Friends” letter thanking his readers for support.
“I have been grateful over the years for the loy
alty of our editors, and the wonderful support and
love expressed to me by fans of the comic strip,”
Schulz wrote. “Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus,
Lucy... how can I ever forget them...”
It ended with his signature.
Fans of all ages mourned his passing.
rnoio Dy jonn eurgess/iNewsmaKeis
Cartoonist Charles Schulz is seen in this file photo from March, 1999. Schulz, the creator of the
popular ‘Peanuts’ comic strip, died February 12 of a heart attack.
You’re Invited to the Grand Re-Opening of
The Academic Grind'
located within Oldfather Hall.
February 14th-18th
^Register to win a Mountain Bike,
compliments of Kellogg’s. *
The food and beverage area within Oldfather Hall has
been expanded. We are now serving STARBUCKS
Coffee products, juices, beverages, Campbell’s
Soups, bagels nachos, and fresh made pastries and
sandwiches. -
This expanded facility !Grand ^-Opening]
will better serve the » Special ,
students, faculty, staff, j $1.99 Tall Mocha, Latte, [
and guests who visit i or Cappuccino ,
Oldfather Half. [Good during Feb 14th -18th«