Theatre Mirror Reviews - "The Vagina Monologues"

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note: entire contents copyright 2001 by Beverly Creasey

"The Vagina Monologues"
Rule The Roost


Reviewed by Beverly Creasey

The first rule of thumb for talking about the vagina (and we all are, thanks to Eve Ensler) is to be proud and sing its praises ... which is exactly what she does in her half dozen searing (and sometimes hilarious) monologues. Ensler is of course talking about womanhood i.e. the part for the whole.

She compares the vagina to a heart in one of her most touching and eloquent pieces (about birth). She compares it to a village in the most moving monologue about rape in Bosnia. She delivers the latter like an exquisite poem, breathing in one phrase, breathing out the next, turning her head to the side when speaking for the young girl sodomized by soldiers, and facing forward in full light for her metaphors.

Yes, she does mention the vagina's male counterpart, but only in passing and only by way of a luscious statistic about a bundle of nerve fibres which make women more sensitive than men...leading her to the conclusion that a semi-automatic beats a handgun any day --- orgasmically speaking, of course. The she points out that it is illegal to sell sexual devices in several southern states where handguns are perfectly legal. Go figure.

Ensler is a class act in every sense of the word --- because she's got an agenda and she wears it on he sleeve. We're in her classroom and we're going to learn a thing or two about the body politic. She's irreverent. She's shockingly frank. She's righteous, but she's not down and dirty...which is why you'd never confuse her with a stand-up comedian. Her point is that talking about and revelling in one's sexuality is healthy...and nothing to be ashamed of.

A few years back before her talk-show self-destructed, Jenny Jones covered similar territory in a stage show called "For Girls Only." Legend has it that a male reporter from the Herald disguised himself as a woman to get in. But Jones' rant was packed with dirty jokes, male bashing and sleazy innuendo. You left the theater feeling disgusted. With Ensler, you leave the theater elated, eager to tell your friends about the "community of vaginas" in Boston.

Ensler was right when she said Boston is "Vagina Friendly": Her show is sold out. If you missed it you can only wait until May when "The Monologues" will reappear with several actresses taking over for Ensler. Until then the rest of us who saw the show can regale you with our imitations of "the moans."

"The Vagina Monologues" (till 1 April)
246 Tremont Street, BOSTON
1 (617) 931-2787

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