The Vagina Monologues returns to Telluride this week after a four-year absence. The production, on stage at the Steaming Bean every night through Thursday, is one of many events that the San Miguel Resource Center is hosting as part of its Phenomenal Women’s Week.

According to Megan Rood, director of the show and advocate manager at the San Miguel Resource Center, The Vagina Monologues is a powerful way to engage the community and to encourage advocacy for women’s rights. “It’s important to remind everyone that even though we live in a utopia, there are women around the world who are suffering. We have the power to change the world. This play reminds us all that we have a voice.”

Written by Tony-award winning Eve Ensler, The Vagina Monologues is an episodic play based on the real-life stories surrounding menstruation, sex, love, rape, and menopause. The play has been translated into 48 languages and performed in over 140 countries.

In 1998, Ensler decided to use the popularity of the play to launch the non- profit organization V-Day. V-Day uses money raised from Vagina Monologue productions to end violence against women and girls. Every year, they select a country to spotlight. This year, it’s Haiti. Ten percent of the profits go to Haiti; the rest goes to the community organization that hosts the play.

This year’s production at the Steaming Bean involves sixteen performers and ten volunteers. Because of the intensity of the experience, Rood asks that the audience show up on time for the 90-minute performance. But Rood encourages everyone to come. “I would love,” she says smiling, “if the whole audience were men.” She recounts her performances of the play in college, “Friends walked away saying they had no idea that women in the world go through this.” Rood says that although The Vagina Monologues recounts the traumatic things that happen to women, it is also “so full of life and humor.” It is not to be missed.

Also happening this week is a showing of Miss Representation at 5:30 on Friday at the library. The movie, which aired this year at Sundance, examines the sexual role that women play in movies and the ways in which it influences girls’ perceptions of themselves.

Tickets for The Vagina Monologues are $10 at the door. Miss Representation is free. Says Melanie Montonya, co-executive director of the San Miguel Resource Center, “The events are just of few of the ways that we want to honor International Women’s Day and to inspire our community to get active in women’s rights.”

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