Outside the box

Vagina Monologues opens eyes

Vagina-linguist Anna Neary at the mic.

Vagina-linguist Anna Neary at the mic.

Photo By Tom Angel

The Vagina Monologues Thurs., Feb. 12 Harlen Adams Theatre

Chico State student Anna Neary threw her head back, let her eyes roll, grabbed her short pixie hair and let out the most guttural, impassioned, sexual moan I have ever heard.

If I hadn’t been laughing so hard, I may have been just a little embarrassed.

Neary’s performance—a skit called “The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy"—was part of Thursday’s opening night Harlen Adams Theater performance of The Vagina Monologues, a controversial play about, you guessed it, vaginas.

The short monologues were presented by a cast of 19 students and community members representing all ages, shapes and colors of women.

Sure, I cackled through Neary’s hysterical portrayals of “The Diva Moan,” “The Irish-Catholic Moan” and “The Uninhibited Bisexual Moan,” but the night had its serious notes as well. Student Brook Haley told a heart-wrenching story called “The Crooked Braid” about a Native American woman who was horribly abused by her husband. And “The Memory of Her Face"—a skit about the practice of disfiguring women’s faces with acid—by Norma Adame, Teresa Donlin and Megan Black had many audience members close to tears.

Another standout performance was “My Angry Vagina” done by Bobbi Tryon. Every woman in the audience laughed through Tryon’s straight-faced delivery about such devices as tampons, thong underwear and gyno exam equipment, things she said were invented solely to undermine the vagina. “Wear and Say” was a fun sketch, where each cast member answered “What would your vagina wear?” and “If your vagina could talk, what would she say?”

The monologues were written by playwright Eve Ensler after she conducted over 200 interviews with women about their vaginas. What started in 1998 as a simple one-woman show has escalated into a movement/ organization called V-Day that strives for women’s freedom from violence and abuse. The Chico State A.S. Women’s Center sponsored the presentation, and proceeds went back into its program as well as Rape Crisis and Catalyst.