Victorious ‘V’

The Vagina Monologues

A line wrapped around the Senator Theatre last Thursday evening for this year’s sold-out performance of Eve Ensler’s runaway Off-Broadway smash, The Vagina Monologues, an annual performance piece staged by local women that has become a proven success before the curtain even opens.

I had a few complaints: This year, the pace faltered a bit, especially when all of the women were on stage and rapidly firing off line after line. The directors did a monologue together in the middle of the show and read it off of black cards (makes me wonder if an actress bailed on them last minute). And there was not much in the way of lighting, as it looked like red gels were used to create a purple glow against the black.

Also, the blocking was a little clumsy; my mom calls it “meandering” when people just shift their weight back and forth, which is very commonplace with plays that are comprised of monologues because the actors don’t know what to do with themselves. A simplistic multi-leveled black background, a giant pink “V” center stage, and several props were all that was used to bring each of the 12 monologues to life.

But any flaw I noticed in the staging, pace or acting was completely overshadowed by the nobility of such a brave work. And although the dialogue is the same every year, the humor and the drama continue to shine through. The audience laughed at every joke, cheered at every empowerment, and generally went wild whenever they thought they had permission. For the most part, the actresses did a stellar job, and given the material it couldn’t have been easy for all of them.

Heartfelt kudos go out to directors Elizabeth Coudright and Candice Phillips for elevating Chico to a place of knowledge and tolerance. Now, say it with me and don’t be scared: "Vagina, vagina, VAGINA!"