A group of actresses are seen performing "The Vagina Monologues" in this archive photo from 2020. (Jerry-Faye Flatt/AQ)

Vaginas, self-love and bloody marys — the Tipsy Muse Cafe is sold out and will be lit up in red as it presents an interpretation of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues and other works in a celebration of femininity.

The Vagina Monologues is a series of stories about women’s experiences that emphasize sexuality and strength.

The event was supposed to happen on Feb. 12, but was postponed until further notice due to protests against COVID-19 mandates that happened downtown over the weekend. 

Mallory Kelly, manager of the Tipsy Muse, said the cafe wanted to put on a production of The Vagina Monologues for some time now and after Christmas and lockdown, the staff decided it was just what the Muse needed to raise spirits. 

“It was something that we started talking about amongst staff and we were like, ‘is this something that we want to go ahead and actually do this time?’ So we went ahead and we thought ‘let’s bring some cheer in any way that we can,’” said Kelly. 

It’s symbolic that the play is being performed around Valentine’s Day because Kelly said it puts focus on the empowerment of women and people with vaginas. 

“We wanted to celebrate women and not focus so much on relationships, but just focusing on how strong women are and how much we do for our communities and how great vagina-having peoples are,” she said. 

All the money made from ticket sales will be donated to Liberty Lane — a local charitable organization that offers housing and support as well as programs to individuals that have been affected by domestic violence in the community.

Kelly said the Muse reinvented the play. While there will be readings from the original play, the evening will also include a reading from Paradise Lost performed by Sydney Hallett, music performances by Kylie Fox and Jerry-Faye, as well as an original reading from fourth-year St. Thomas University student, Beatriz Cordeiro, on self-image. There will also be visual art for sale donated by Danielle Hogan and a student artist from the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design.

“[The audience can enjoy] listening to stories that have been written by women around the world, listening to artists that are right here from our communities and just being able to sit back, take in and appreciate the joys of vaginas,” said Kelly.

Cordeiro is excited to read her piece called A Mirror’s Opinion — it was originally written for a performance class Cordeiro was in and was inspired by Leda (1945) by Henri Matisse at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery and her own struggles with self-image. 

“I’ve always struggled with body image and eating disorders,” she said. “There are people who are plus size who find love. At least for me, it’s always in the back of the mind. ‘Does that person actually like me? I’m not as perfect as all the other people out there.’”

Cordeiro is from Brazil and admires the alternate celebration of Valentine’s Day that venues like the Tipsy Muse are encouraging. 

“In Brazil, you only celebrate with your partner, … but here you can also go out with a friend. I feel like there’s a more open concept and it’s very wholesome,” she said.