Directing The Vagina Monologures- Emily Atwood

Emily Atwood is a  Baccalaureate Nursing major at Eastern from Louisville, KY. She has been involved in campus leadership through Feminists for Change, The Alphabet Center, and The Nursing Student Network.  Emily has also been active in community service on campus and spent two years as a resident assistant. This year, Emily is the co-director for the campus production of The Vagina Monologues, which is a series of monologues that celebrate female sexuality and which raise awareness about violence against women. Emily has answered our questions about her leadership in this production and her hopes for the show, which debuts on February 19th.


What skills and personal qualities does it take to be the director of a production like 
The Vagina Monologues

There’s not really a specific mold to be the director. Every person has different passions and experience to bring to the show and it keeps it fresh and vital in the lives of those who participate. I think each director does need more than a basic knowledge about sexual assault and domestic violence. All of our proceeds go to our local rape crisis center and our domestic violence shelter. We do educate our cast about these things because this is what we’re fighting against. Other qualities include leadership skills, confidence, and an extreme amount of patience and perseverance. 


Have you come across any challenges in directing the show? If so, how have you dealt with them?

Most of the challenges that arise during the show are minor; things like scheduling conflicts, trying to get everything to come together at the right moment, etc. We do have some backlash from the community sometimes because of the controversial nature of the show but this has decreased exponentially in the last few years.  Most people are very supportive.


How is being the director of the show been a different experience form being a cast member?

There’s a lot more stress involved. It feels like the success of the show is on your shoulders. It’s hard to go from listening to instructions to giving them too. The rewards though of affecting that many people and being a source of information and a safe place are totally worth it. 


What do you hope the cast gains from the show? The audience?

There are so many things I hope the cast and the audience get out of the show but I’ll stick to the basics. For the cast, I’d love for them to be more comfortable with themselves and to continue to be activists against sexual assault and domestic violence. I want for them to be a safe place for survivors. For the audience, the hope is that will think differently about the world around them and be more aware. 


As a director, how would you define a successful production?

A successful production is one that goes off without any major hiccups and that can affect at least one person. If one person decides to confide in someone about something that happened to them, or if one person decides to not tell rape jokes anymore, we’ve done our job. There are so many things covered in the show that can make small changes in peoples lives. If we make someone think differently about something, that’s success. 


Has taking on the role of director taught you anything about leadership?

Don’t expect everything to go perfectly, there’s no such thing as perfection. You can be too soft, and you can definitely be too harsh. Harsh might get the results, but will ruin the experience. One of the most important things it’s taught me though is that if I make an effort to know my stuff and be accessible, I can develop a more productive relationship with the cast. 


When is opening night?

February 19th, 20th, and 22nd at 7:00pm in O’Donnell Auditorium in SSB. 

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Categories: Student Spotlight

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