Sophie Ryan, the director of this year’s V-Day performance, is an active member of the MC Players community. She’s pictured here during last years performance of Cabaret. ALYSSA NEALON/COURTESY
By Jocelyn Visnov, Editor-in-Chief
MC Players took the stage for this year’s annual V-Day performance on Sunday, Feb. 12. Directed by senior Sophie Ryan, this year’s cast of six actors performed a series of poems from a book titled “I Am Not Your Final Girl” written by Claire C. Holland.
“V-Day” performances are part of an activist movement that raises awareness about domestic abuse and violence against women. The idea originated from actor and author Eve Ensler, who hopes to unify female and gender-fluid voices by sharing stories through art and theater.
According to v-day.org, “V-Day has inspired women all over the world and raised collective consciousness about how violence and gender intersect,” the site reads “V-Day is a movement and an example of how the power of art can be used as a liberating tool for transformational holistic education and social justice.”
Each V-Day performance can look and feel different from the next. Ryan, a senior communication major with minors in film and theater, carefully chose poems from “I Am Not Your Final Girl” for this year’s performance inspired by her love of horror films.
“V-Day is something that Manhattan College players do every year, and it’s a nationwide thing that has always happened around Valentine’s Day,” Ryan said. “It’s to bring awareness to violence against women and girls with the hope of, you know, stopping that one day.”
The book by Claire C. Holland contains poems written from the point of view of fictional female characters from different horror films. Each poem discusses the role of the character through a lens of feminism, sexuality and gender-based violence.
Actors sat in a semi-circle and took turns stepping up to the microphone to read their assigned poems. Among the actors was Billy Walker, a junior communication major, who expressed his feelings while being on stage.
“It felt really cool actually,” he said. “I definitely was a little nervous performing, especially for something that is more focused on women and gender identity.”
Among the poems read during the performance was a passage inspired by the 1981 horror film Possession. Written from the point of view of Anna, the poem discusses the fictional characters’ struggles with domestic abuse, heartbreak and mental health encountered within the film.
The poem reads “A woman’s body was made for this, for birthing, for enduring hours of pulsating pain, but no birth, no ingress into this world should hurt this much.” the actors read. “A blade in her back, it threatens to bubble up from inside, to pour from her prone and twisting body, everywhere, frothing.”
Brina Boyum, a double major in sociology and philosophy and an actor in the show, expressed her admiration for V-Day following the event.
“V-day is such an important thing to have,” she said. “It’s such a great message to spread the end of violence against women and getting to be a part of it was so awesome, just knowing that you’re up there [on stage] doing something meaningful.”
Among those who attended the event in the audience was Rj Giannicchi, a political science and communication double major, who is also an active member of MC Players.
“I think taking the ‘final girls’ of each horror movie is really interesting,” Giannicchi said. “Also very timely because I’m taking an American horror cinema class, which talks a lot about the final girl and women in gender and film, specifically in horror films. So to see another aspect of that explored through V Day, I thought was very interesting, and definitely was able to make it stand out compared to the other V-Day performances in the past.”
Editor’s note: Mack Olmsted contributed to reporting for this piece.