I have always wanted to belong to an underground radical movement for good. That’s why I got involved with The Vagina Monologues. Well, it's not so underground now, but it felt underground when I first auditioned about 15 years ago.
I was so excited to be a part of the show. That first director videotaped each of us introducing ourselves because she had so many people auditioning. I remember thinking how was I going to distinguish myself, and when I got behind the video camera, I said as proud as you please, "Hi, I'm Vagina Jewell!” I didn’t have a part in mind when I first auditioned, but “The Angry Vagina” turned out to be the one for me. I loved getting to be so angry, and the audience was so entertained with my rage that it just further enraged me. We did two performances that year, and I loved every minute of it.
The year after my debut as The Angry Vagina, I wanted to do the monologue again. I had thought all year about all the ways I could make it funnier and better. The show was having difficulty finding a director that year, so I talked a friend of mine into directing the performance, and another friend wrote an original poem on the that year's topic and performed it as the closing of the show. It was at the Koger Center, and we only had one chance to do it right. But it was a magical night. For weeks afterwards, everywhere I went, people would say, "I know you—you were the Angry Vagina. You were so funny." And that felt wonderful to be recognized for my participation in this not-so-underground radical movement for good. We had the cast party at my house, and I loved being around so many women from so many different walks—of various ages, races, interests—but the one thing we had in common was the radical notion that women should be treated like people! “The Angry Vagina” was a great part, and I knew I had to share it. I’ve taken ten years off, but I'm back in The Vagina Monologues and so excited. Ironically, I'm not nearly so angry anymore, and therefore, I'm able to have so much more fun with the part. I'm a good deal older than I was then, too, and the young women involved in this year’s production are inspiring, generous, and hilarious! Who doesn’t want to be a part of that? And if we can do some good along the way, even better. This one is rising!
The Vagina Monologues takes place on February 15 through 17 at 8:00 p.m. at the USC Law School Auditorium (701 Main St.). Tickets cost $8 for students and $10 for the public. Proceeds will be donated to Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands. (Find out more at vmonologuesusc.wordpress.com.)