Photo by Jessica Waite
This past weekend marked the world premiere of “LIPS,” a new show written, directed, performed, and produced by UCLA students and alumni.
The monologues presented in “LIPS” ranged in topic covering eating disorders, immigration, abuse, sexual assault, LGBTQ+ experiences, and much more. Some pieces were bright and comical, while others took on a far more serious tone. A group piece called “To Walk” discussed the harmful effects of catcalling, with performers acting out various incidents of catcalling and the responses of bystanders, family, and friends. “The Fat’s Out of the Bag,” a monologue written and performed by Maggie Sharpe, examined the relationship between womanhood, lesbianism, and being fat while remaining both honest and hilarious.
Audience members snapped and shouted along to monologues they resonated with, or were stunned into silence with new, raw stories. Each show ended to a standing ovation and cheers from the crowd.
V-Day Coalition at UCLA, the organization behind “LIPS”, produced “The Vagina Monologues” for five years prior to creating “LIPS.” V-Day Coalition found “The Vagina Monologues” to be representative of early 90s feminism, centering womanhood around vaginas and the experiences of a narrow range of women. “LIPS” aims to combat this by including the narratives of women and non-binary folks from all walks of life.
“LIPS” acknowledges that while it’s a step in the right direction, the play is not yet perfect. Some monologues mention vaginas and menstruation, despite understanding that these are not applicable to all women. Others define the loss of virginity as having penile-vaginal sex for the first time, although this is not everyone’s experience. While “LIPS” is an incredible first step, V-Day plans to keep moving forward, addressing critiques and shortcomings with each new set of monologues. “LIPS” will be maintained on a rotational basis, with a set number of new monologues each year. Each year’s artistic director will decide which monologues will be replaced with newer, fresher dialogue.
For a behind-the-scenes look at “LIPS” please click here.