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'The Vagina Monologues' to open Corn Stock Theatre's winter season

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OMG! I can't believe they're saying that word. You know the one — vagina!

Ok, so that isn't quite the reaction one gets about that word any more, but it remains somewhat a forbidden word to many, a word some will say only in a whisper after looking around to see if anyone else is listening.

It is time, said Amy Wyckoff, that the word vagina becomes mainstream.

"As long as I've been alive there has been some kind of stigma attached to the word vagina. But I think it is what makes us women. We have to stop being afraid of the power that makes us women," said Wyckoff, who is directing "The Vagina Monologues" at Corn Stock Theatre's Winter Playhouse.

The show opens Friday, Oct. 14 at 7:30 p.m. at the Winter Playhouse in Upper Bradley Park. It continues at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15, at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 16 and at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 21 and 22. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for students and can be reserved by calling 696-2196.

Season tickets for the five-show winter season are on sale of $40 each. The rest of the season includes "Angels in America: Perestroika" in November, "Plaza Suite" in December, "God of Carnage" in February and "Glengarry Glen Ross" in March. For more information about those shows go to

(Photo by Blake Stubbs) Performers in "The Vagina Monologues," which opens Friday, Oct. 14 at 7:30 p.m. at Corn Stock Theatre's Winter Playhouse, are, standing from left, Lisa chamberlain, Sarah Duffy, Emily Toohill, Shannon Orrill and Donna Forbis. Seated in front is Cheri Beever."The Vagina Monologues" is just that — a series of monologues that tell stories about women, stories the author, Eve Ensler, created from 200 interviews she did with women to get their thoughts about sex, relationships and violence against women. The stories, performed by different women, in one way or another relate to the vagina, which is referred to as a tool of female empowerment.

The show, first produced off-Broadway in 1996, won the Obie Award, the highest prize for off-Broadway productions. It later resulted in Ensler and others creating V-Day, a global nonp-profit movement that has raised more than $75 million for women's anti-violence groups.

On Sunday, after the 2:30 p.m. performance, Corn Stock will have a talk-back session with the audience to discuss the show and it will be facilitated by the Center for the Prevention of Abuse in Peoria. A portion of the proceeds from the show will be donated to the Center for the Prevention of Abuse.

Wyckoff said she wanted to direct "The Vagina Monologues" because it had not been done at the community theatre level in the Peoria area "and it is too important of a piece of work to ignore simply because people were afraid of it because of the name."

She said she learned some things about herself while directing the show, including that she is, in her own way, a feminist. "That's not a bad thing. It's just that I'm a stay-at-home mom with four kids I am home schooling, which is quite different from what people usually think of when talking about feminism, the career woman who chooses suits and career over kids.

I'm exercising my own version of feminism by making choices that are best for me," she said.

"The Vagina Monologues," Wyckoff said, enables the audience to watch and hear other versions of it within the stories.

"Every emotion you can imagine is hit on during this show. It's very funny, it will make you laugh. It's touching, so it may make you cry. It will make you uncomfortable at times. I still laugh as hard and cry as much at every rehearsal as I did at the beginning because the writing and acting is so powerful," she added.

The acting is being handled by community theatre veterans Cheri Beever, Shannon Orrill, Emily Toohill, Sarah Duffy, Lisa Chamberlain and Donna Forbis.

"We are telling the story of these women, not creating characters. I didn't want it to be too over-the-top or overly sexual. I just wanted it to be try to the author, which I thing we've accomplished," Wyckoff said.

Paul Gordon is editor of The Peorian. He can be reached at 692-7880 or


About the Author
Paul Gordon is the editor of The Peorian after spending 29 years of indentured servitude at the Peoria Journal Star. He’s an award-winning writer, raconteur and song-and-dance man. He also went to a high school whose team name is the Alices (that’s Vincennes Lincoln High School in Indiana; you can look it up).