The Vagina Monologues
Presented by Simple Truth Theatre
Globe Theatre, October 7
Reviewed by Katy Breheny
Without a doubt, you will leave this play with a much more extensive knowledge of colloquial terms for the vagina.
And you may be obsessed with ongoing conversations with your friends and loved ones around questions like "if your vagina could talk, what would it say?" and "if it could choose, what would your vagina wear?"
Warning, these conversations will cause hilarity for some and for others, may make them squirm. A brilliant response from one of this reviewer's conversations produced a reply about a Swanndri being the outfit of choice. This goes to show, The Vagina Monologues definitely belongs here, in Palmerston North.
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This is the point of this refreshing and unapologetic play, written in the 1990s by American Eve Ensler based on interviews with women about their vaginas. Discussions about vaginas and everything they represent, sexuality, birth, relationships, and pride or shame, belong everywhere there are people with vaginas.
Initially, this play was to be one of two performed together. Covid-19 and social distancing requirements caused delays. It was finally staged as The Vagina Monologues. Spaces between seating were a feature and it was described as a pruned back version of the planned performance.
With no knowledge of the background of the play but with a deep-seated belief in removing shame from all women's topics, this reviewer took her husband. There was a lively, mixed audience and great anticipation.
The set, consisting of an array of comfortable/vintage/elegant chairs of pink tones with matching accessories, was eye-catching. Now, after seeing the show, if the question was asked, "if your vagina chose a certain chair, which would it be?" I would answer, most likely one in that set.
The time flew by as the cast, a diverse group of wonderful performers, enacted the play with pizazz. In this setting of women having a conversation, there were nice moments of interaction between the performers that gave the play another level.
Every member of the audience will come away with a favourite moment. It may be the frank conversations around hair, or smell, or terms like coochie snorcher. It may be the drama of a woman who experienced abuse, then found her comfort zone unexpectedly.
It may be the monologue of a young woman who felt her vagina was somewhere, but was unsure where. She encountered it spectacularly on a vagina retreat.
It might be the drama around the messy, colourful unfolding of birth. Of course, there is the opera of moans that is performed with such expertise, it is awe inspiring.
Of the cast, all were stars, all owned their roles with confidence and got out there with pride. My only comment is that it was over a bit too fast.