‘Vagina Monologues’ defines the human experience

By on February 26, 2018

Vicque Jackson, Kathy McMahan, Jody Sheehan and Gillian Stewart.

The best theatrical performances are filled with passion and a belief in the script, in the words the playwright has written.

Sometimes those words can make us uncomfortable, sometimes laugh, sometimes cry. But what is important is that the words are believed by the cast and that they convey the playwright’s meaning.

Using that standard, the performance of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues at Waverider’s earlier this month was a resounding success.

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The play is exactly as described — a collection of monologues, the words recreated from a series of interviews Ensler conducted in the 1990s.

As presented at Waveriders, there is no scenery and no music, simply a performer, a stool and a microphone.

Although the play is focused on women, and for the most part their sexuality, because of the range of experiences it describes, the Vagina Monologues becomes a commentary on the human experience and that commentary elicits a full range of emotions.

In The Flood, Vicque Jackson becomes immersed in a character who is consumed by guilt because of a natural reaction to a boy’s kiss when she was a teenager.

Because of what happened and the boy’s reaction, she has never been able to acknowledge her own body and because of that, her sexuality.

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There is a sense of sadness and loss in witnessing her words, yet there is also a feeling of anger that something beyond this woman’s control has cost her so much.

Nothing in the Vagina Monologues, though, comes close to eliciting the range of emotions of My Vagina Was My Village.

Jessica Sands in a moment of pleasant memory with her boyfriend before the horror of what was done to her in My Vagina Was My Village.

Telling the story of a young girl in Bosnia as the country descended into civil war and ethnic cleansing, as performed by Jessica Sands, the tale alternates between the horror of seven days of rape and torture, and memories of the sweet and wonderful feel of her boyfriend’s touch.

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And in the end, she tells us:
“They invaded it. Butchered it and burned it down.
I do not touch now.
Do not visit.
I live someplace else now.
I don’t know where that is.”

At first glance the play seems like a series of disconnected stories; yet there is a master’s touch in the pacing and arrangement of the monologues. The Flood is followed by The Vagina Workshop.

Deena Prete, using a perfect British accent, takes the audience along with her in a riotous journey as she discovers things about herself that she never knew existed.

BJ Keifer performing My Angry Vagina before intermission was perfect. Angry? Yes. But funny too.

My Vagina Was My Village, where dreams are shattered and ownership of the woman’s body is taken from her, is followed by My Short Skirt with Zia Montesi declaring at the end: “But mainly my short skirt and everything under it is mine.”

Alana Hoare performing “The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy.”

Outstanding performances truly makes Ensler’s words come alive, and Alana Hoare took The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy to another level. The words are funny and insightful, and Hoare’s delivery was perfection.

A number of years ago, Willo Kelly performed The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy. Her interpretation was every bit as powerful and memorable as Hoare’s so we probably have two gold standards for the monologue now.

Kelly appeared again this year. She was funny and sensual. Unfortunately because of the subject and title of her monologue, that’s about all that can be said in a publication that is read by the public at large.

It is not possible to call out every performance, but there was not a weak moment in the play.

From the moment the Vulva Chorus (Kathy McManan, Gillian Stewart and Jody Sheehan) — think Greek Theatre with a very modern twist — until Dallas Bossola performed I Was There in the Room, this was a night of thought-provoking, excellent theater.

Co-directed by Dawn Church and Laura Martier, 2018 marks the 20th anniversary of The Vagina Monologues on the Outer Banks. The production took a number of years off so this was not the 20th performance, although the first time it was presented was in 1998.

It’s good to have it back on the Outer Banks. The Vagina Monologues is thought-provoking and challenging, at times difficult to watch and uncomfortable, but ultimately a valuable commentary on our society.

Comments

  • Anna

    Re! More perversion on the obx? To go along with grandstand stein burlesque brunch and the new place that took over outback that has drag queen shows? Nasty vile libturds! This is a family beach! Go Away!

    Saturday, Mar 3 @ 11:08 pm
  • kayfabe58

    anybody who is frightened of gun rights needs to understand just how scary this wave of feminist ideology is…empower those who loathe…The Libtard way…

    Sunday, Mar 4 @ 6:56 pm
  • Kathy Ingwerson

    So nice to see there are so many open-minded folks left on the Outer Banks who embrace diversity and culture. Yep, the liberals and feminists are out to get you! LOL

    (Psst…if some of the things available don’t suit your fancy, just skip seeing them. They don’t otherwise affect you!)

    What a hoot!

    Wednesday, Mar 14 @ 11:15 am
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