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By Barry Hertz

For a brief moment, Amanda Feder and Caitlin Howden were unwittingly producing dueling productions of The Vagina Monologues at Ryerson.

“We didn’t know each other and we independently were interested in trying to start the project,” says Feder, a second-year film student. “We just found out about each other getting the rights and decided to work together to put it on, and that was that.”

Feder, and fourth-year theatre student Howden, decided to put on the famous production to support V-Day, a women’s support organization started by the original Monologues author, Eve Ensler.

While Howden and Feder were nervous that no one would be interested in rehashing the production, they were both shocked to discover overwhelming support and interest at Ryerson. “When we put up posters, we thought we’d get five or 10 women,” says Howden, who stresses that the all-volunteer production’s proceeds will go directly to help fight domestic violence. “Instead, we ended up with almost 30.”

The international cast of 15 women will perform the monologues this week at the Ryerson Theatre. The space was donated for free by the theatre school. While donations would be ideal, the two just hope the production succeeds in promoting awareness of issues women face today.

“It’s about getting comfortable with the word ‘vagina,'” Howden says, noting Toronto’s CHFI radio station’s recent refusal to air ads for Ensler’s other production because it referred to her previous work. “We call ourselves progressive, but yet we can’t say the name of a body part? It’s ridiculous.”

The Vagina Monologues: Fri.-Sun. at the Ryerson Theatre at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $10/student at the door.

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