A couple of weeks ago, kid #1 mentioned that his college was putting on a performance of The Vagina Monologues and would I like to go? Well, you bet! I briefly considered the probability of awkwardness in seeing this particular show with my 21 year old son, but vaginas exist and I’m pretty sure he knows it.
The Vagina Monologues was written by Eve Ensler and first produced in 1996. I remember the mostly shocked news reports at the time and based on the name alone thought it must be a shock-value pseudo-feminist offering.
I was wrong, wrong, wrong.
This production featured performers from the college (students and instructors) as well as performers from a local theater group. The audience was 90% women, which made me take a hard and admiring look at the men in attendance. The production was part of the One Billion Rising movement and all the proceeds from the performances went to the only safe house for battered women in our local area. (And given that my city has a population of more than 250,000, how effed up is it that abused women have only one place at which to seek shelter?)
Right from the start, there was a sense of community and commonality in the audience. The word “vagina” is uttered dozens, if not hundreds, of times. Every slang word for vagina is used, including a bunch I’d never heard before (coochi snorcher?). The show is much funnier than I’d imagined and more harrowing. “My Vagina Was My Village” is a monologue about the atrocity of rape as another weapon of war. It’s moving and sickening. The entire play is emotionally powerful.
Kid #1 was deeply affected by the monologues about rape and abuse. I was tickled by the celebration of the experience of living life with a vagina. The play is based on interviews with thousands of women from every walk of life and I related to something in virtually every monologue.
It’s brilliant. Definitely for adults, but worth the time to go see. There’s a damn good reason this play is still going strong 18 years after the first performance. It’s excellent.
Have you seen The Vagina Monologues? What did you think?