“People are worried that the show will be a bunch of angry voices of suffering, and that is important to hear,” said April Lidinsky director of the women’s and gender studies program at IU South Bend, about the upcoming Michiana Monologues. Lidinsky said, “People will be educated, entertained and enlightened.” The stories to be performed at this year’s ninth annual Michiana Monologues will have a wide variety of subjects. The stories are “all over the map,” said Lidinsky, “funny, outrageous and agonizing.”
“There are stories about menopause, relationships, great and difficult journeys of body acceptance, funny and uplifting stories, stories about falling in love. There is also a groundbreaking story on asexuality this year. This is a powerful experience.”
All stories are by women in the Michiana community. This year they include a performance from both a professor at St. Mary’s College and Goshen College.
This year’s title of the Michiana Monologues is “Circle of Women.”
“A monologue becomes a dialogue,” Lidinsky said. She went on to explain that sometimes hearing someone else tell a story that someone can identify with can start a conversation that person needs to have, or to start a change in the community.
More than raising crucial awareness, however, The Michiana Monologues have another goal: to raise money.
In the published volume of “Michiana Monologues 2016: Circle of Women,” the Introduction explains, “This community chorus does more than enlighten and entertain us; these voices raise money for crucial organizations that work to improve our community. This year our expanded beneficiary list includes SOS of the Family Justice Center; St. Margaret’s House; YWCA of North Central Indiana; TREES Inc. (Transgender Resource, Education Transgender Resource, Education, and Enrichment Services); The Young Moms’ Self-Sufficiency Program of the Youth Service Bureau; Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky; and Indiana Legal Services, Inc.”
While performances of Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues” have been a tradition to raise awareness on certain struggles, Lidinsky noticed it was ceasing to touch attendees in a personal way.
It is easy to imagine “great and terrible things only happen to people in New York or Bosnia,” explained Lidinsky. The Michiana Monologues help bring to light a missing key factor, according to Lidinsky: “adversity that is local.”
In the aptly named “Herstory” posted to michianamonologues.org, The Michiana Monologue’s story unfolds. Inspired by “The Vagina Monologues,” members of the Saint Mary’s College community decided to take a different approach to creating dialogue on women’s issues in the area.
“In 2005, after producing The Vagina Monologues for several years, members of the Saint Mary’s College community took a different approach, and created a production designed specifically for their campus. They produced the SMC (Saint Mary’s College) Monologues, a performance of monologues both written and performed by members of the SMC community.”
By 2007, “members of the IUSB community approached their Saint Mary’s College colleagues to ask for information about how to produce their own monologues. In the discussion that followed, the idea of collaborating in developing a South Bend community-wide monologues production, the Michiana Monologues, was born.”
“The monologue-writing and performance process provides opportunities for support and empowerment to the survivors of violence, increases awareness of the issue, and promotes community involvement in prevention efforts.”
“Michiana Monologues 2016: Circle of Women” will have three performances:
February 25, 7 PM Civil Rights Heritage Center, 1040 W. Washington Street, South Bend –donations at the door
February 26, 7 PM South Bend Civic Theatre, 403 N. Main Street, South Bend- $12
Call 537-234-1112. Opening performance by The Ripple Effect. ASL for the Deaf.
March 4, 7 PM Louise E. Addicott and Yatish J. Joshi Recital Hall, IU South Bend- $10 Opening performance by The Ripple Effect. ASL for the Deaf. *Silent auction with goods, services, art, jewelry and much more begins at 6:15 p.m.