At 7pm on the 30th of March in the SU Venue, history was made. A majority of you will have heard of “The Vagina Monologues” play, a series of monologues by Women that discuss the issues facing women in today’s society. The University had a showing and a performance of The Vagina Monologues in 2015.
MENding Monologues is like that but for everyone. It’s a show which is open about its feelings, its sex life and even dark events that the writers of the monologues chose to highlight. On the 30th of March, history was made as the Social Justice League in Maynooth put on a magnificent rendition of MENding Monologues. This was not only the first time MENding has been performed in Ireland, it’s the first time MENding has been performed in all of Europe.
We here at The MU Times were very lucky to get a number of audience members to write us their thoughts about the show.
“I left MENding angry. It wasn’t because the show wasn’t worth my 4 euro donation to the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre or because it wasn’t a good show, it was a really good show. I left MENding angry at myself for not having had the courage to write or perform for this great show. Each performance and piece were excellent with great direction by Jonah Worcester and Erin Murray visible throughout.
MENding made me think about my place in society and how I interact with others. It taught me at least 3 different terms for jerking off (a feat in and of itself after 6 years as a teenage boy on the Internet) and made me laugh until my stomach hurt. The fear that I was going into some preachy quasi-support group for individuals who spend more time on Tumblr than with people in real life was dispelled handily within the first few Monologues. That’s not to say that the show doesn’t deal with delicate topics appropriately, from the start it was established what they would talk about in these Monologues and made very clear that if you were uncomfortable that you were under no obligation to stay, there was even an Usher for the sole purpose of making sure everyone who was leaving was alright. MENding was a great show and I consider myself very lucky to have gotten to see it performed.”
“When I first heard about the MENding monologues I was slightly worried. As a staunch feminist MENding sounded slightly too close to menimism to me. After seeing who the crew was though I felt a bit more at ease. Those of the cast that I knew I trusted enough to know that this was something not to be missed.
I went into the theatre not really knowing what to expect. While paying to go in I’d heard words like ‘masturbater’, ‘ dominatrix’ and ‘swish and swirl’ casually thrown around by those in the know. I was both nervous and excited by what I was just about to see.
After the introduction where we were warned about triggers I expected the sex. I expected the rape talk. I expected to hear about all of the gruelling details of the stories of self-discovery, of pain and healing and of frustration and anger. What I didn’t expect was how much the pieces moved me. I didn’t expect to be brought to tears hearing about the experiences of people I’ve never even heard of and places I will never see. I also didn’t expect to laugh as much or as loudly as I did. The cast was incredible though and really brought these stories to life and made them their own. I came out of the MENding monologues not sure if I should congratulate the actors or give them words of comfort. One thing I was sure of was that I had just had the pleasure of witnessing something new, something exciting and something hugely important.”
Malachi Kane Shine
“The MENDing Monologues could be accused of appropriation due to their similarity to the Vagina Monologues, a veritable institution in feminist circles. However in the hands of the director and cast, it became a truly powerful and historic moment for Maynooth. Tackling a variety of difficult topics with gravity where it was required and lighter touches also, it succeeded in incorporating a variety of perspectives: male, female, non-binary. While the monologues were overall delivered extremely well, the monologue performed in drag had some mildly problematic elements to it. They weren’t enough to derail its message of deconstructing gender roles, just a couple of lines that jarred slightly. The material could be quite heavy at times, while this would be expected, one monologue that dealt with how often men don’t confront rapists in their social circles, delivered by Andrew Butler was exceptionally chilling. However there were a number of lighter moments throughout the performance, particularly a masturbation monologue containing the immortal euphemism “tearing the handle off me-self”.
As a whole I would have to dub the European debut of the MENDing Monologues to be a massive success, I am quite excited to see it be taken up in other colleges and for it to continue to be performed in the years to come.”
“Not very often do you come away from a show with your cheeks sore from laughing and a t-shirt soaked with tears of joy and sorrow. The production ranged from the heart tugging personal exchanges of the after effects of rape and suicide. Then it flows to the humourist antics of sex. There was a well performed story of three men who ““tearing the handle off meself” share their experiences of a wank or two or three hundred.
The monologues were well balanced with at frank, open and honest exchange of men’s and women’s experiences over sex, love and all trials that involves being in a relationship of the romantic kind. No battle of the sexes here just equal conversations.
There was one scene stealer of a monologue about B.D.S.M. A monologue that by using this sexual fetish as a great example that when we engage in a trusting, communicative and constant seeking way with our sexual partners we gain the best of both worlds. And both parties are equally fulfilled and valeted. It is an overall approach we should take for all forms of relationships in our life.”