Monday, February 21, 2011

The Vagina Monologues

On Saturday night I had the pleasure of seeing The Vagina Monologues at my alma mater, Tennessee Technological University. While I was in college I took a few theatre classes, only to discover that my joy of theatre was in watching it more than being a part of it.

The Vagina Monologues was a show I saw while I was still in school. At that time it had only been performed one other time in the area and the title alone was enough to make some people stay away. The title alone was also the reason some of us went.

The Vagina Monologues was written by Eve Ensler. It is an eye opening experience and helps to bring awareness to sexual abuse against women. It will make you laugh, it will embarrass you, it will make you cry, and it may even shock you.

One of my favorite things about seeing The Vagina Monologues is the diverse cast. Every time I’ve seen it (and all the other times from what I’ve been told) the cast varies. Some people have had tons of theatre experience. Some have never set foot on a stage before. In this production, the range was no less impressive.

Directed by Steven W. Gwilt and Daniel Evan Montgomery, this production was beautiful. The stage was extremely simple, allowing the audience to focus on the actresses and their stories. There were minimal props. In fact, I can only think of one of the monologues that had a prop that wasn’t part of the costumes of the actresses.

Some of my favorite monologues were the funny ones. There’s nothing like listening to an entire theatre of people screaming, “Cunt! Cunt! Cunt!” along with the actress on stage as we did with the monologue entitled “Reclaiming Cunt.” Or laughing along with your neighbor as “The Angry Vagina” complains about tampons and the “duck lips” used in a gynecological exam.

During my favorite comedic monologue titled “The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy,” I laughed so hard I cried. Believe me when I say that I had no idea all the different type of orgasms there could be. And Weslie Webster (of Cumberland County Playhouse fame) did a fantastic job of teaching the audience each and every one. Did you know that there’s a Diva Orgasm (that sounds remarkably like Lady Gaga)?

A few of the monologues were serious, even sad. “My Vagina was my Village” was a beautiful piece told from the point of view of a girl who had been sexually abused during war time in her country. “They Beat the Girl Out of My Boy” was told from the point of view of several transgender women. It was heartbreaking and eye opening.

There were so many talented women performing in this show that it’s hard to pick a favorite. Had I not read the bios in the program, I would have been hard pressed to pick out the rookies from the seasoned actresses.

Overall, it was a fantastic show. And the best part of the night? All the proceeds went to benefit TN Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and SAFER (Students Active For Ending Rape).

And a small disclosure: one of my very best friends was in the show. However, she played none of the parts I mentioned, so I don’t feel too biased with my assessment. :)

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