Review: 'Ovaries' inspires, empowers

By Stephanie Allen | 2/8/12 11:29pm

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GVL Archive
Previous performance of That Takes Ovaries. Today’s performance takes place in the Grand River Room at 7pm.

by GVL Archives / Grand Valley Lanthorn

Grand Valley State University students take on activism in a creative way with the play “That Take Ovaries!: Bold Women, Brazen Acts,” which debuts tonight.

In more than 22 exciting stories presented by both female and male students, and community members, the play brings tears, laughter, courage and inspiration to audiences.

“It shows that even the little things can mean a lot,” said administrative chair Betsi Bryker. “Especially the ‘Bully on the Bus’ piece, just one small action – you don’t have to have tons of money, you don’t have to have a Ph D or be famous, you can make a difference just in everyday actions.”

But it’s not about feminist empowerment and women gaining control of society. It’s about gender fairness that spreads throughout multiple generations of women.

“I think it reminds us of some of the things that we forget are important that we still need to do, where we still need to grow, where we still need to diversify, where we still need to support,” said community member and activist Barb Dalman.

Students need to be informed of the bold acts that women have done and can do to help continue making strides in a more equal direction.

“It’s important for someone like me that women that are my daughters’ age, you know younger women, are a strong force still, and they’re making sure that they continue to carry the torch, to make sure that they work toward equality,” Dalman said.

The stories range in seriousness and scale. Pieces include “Good Vibrations,” about a woman in the 1970s who opens a sex toy shop and started her own successful business, to “No Dunking,” about a girl who stands up to a group of guys at her college campus recreational center breaking the basketball court rules.

Throughout the play, all of the stories have one interlocking goal – to inspire. And they do exactly that. They inspire women to not back down, to believe in themselves and to fight to be part of something bigger.

“It represents the strength that everyday people have to do the bold, brazen acts,” said GVSU student activist Jessica Wehby. “And we’re all everyday students around campus.”

For the past 10 years the Women’s Center put on the “Vagina Monologues,” but switching to “That Takes Ovaries!” is a fresher and more upbeat take on the equality issue. Students, faculty and staff need to be informed of the bold acts that women have done, and can do to help continue making strides in a more equal direction.

“It’s important for someone like me that women that are my daughters’ age, you know, younger women, are a strong force still, and they’re making sure that they continue to carry the torch, to make sure that they work toward equality,” Dalman said.

Knowing that some of the stories were submitted from community members like Wehby brings a more personal experience.

Her emotional story about a troubled relationship gives hope to women who are afraid to leave someone.

“I thought I was going to be an emotional wreck because it is such an emotional story, but it was really more of a proud moment because I did something that ‘took ovaries,’” Wehby said. “It’s really powerful to see that.”

The broad range of story topics resonate with every audience member.

“It’s woman who make a lot of bold decisions for their lives, and I think they should feel empowered to do so,” said GVSU student activist Allison Staley. “I don’t know if our society as a whole is necessarily doing that, empowering them. I feel like this show is a small step in that direction.”

Performances are tonight at 7 p.m. in the Grand River Room of the Kirkhof Center and tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Wealthy Street Theatre in Grand Rapids. Tickets on sale now are $5 for students and $10 for community members. All proceeds benefit local woman’s organizations.

sallen@lanthorn.com

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