‘The Vagina Monologues’ was penned at the age of 43, by playwright, theatre performer and activist, New York born Eve Ensler. It was written in an era when to say the word ‘boob’ at home was a major sin. Sexually abused as a child, Ensler subsequently had a failed marriage, before adopting a 15-year-old boy, when she was only 23 yrs herself.
When first produced in 1996 ‘The Vagina Monologues’ won a ‘Best Play’ award, yet it struggled to find a venue willing to stage such a risqué play. Now, 16 years later, the monologues have been translated into 48 languages.
Ensler recently toured America with her latest play, ‘The Good Body’ that tackles the problem of many women around the world, being pressured into changing their dress and body-shape to become socially acceptable. Tragically at the age of 60, Eve has developed uterine cancer.
This hilarious and daring presentation is showing at the Old Mill Theatre, on the corner of Mends Street and Mill Point Road, South Perth. Curtain up for this two and a quarter hour show is at 8.00 pm. There is a Sunday matinee on 26th August at 2.00 pm.
The monologues were created after interviewing 200 women from every lifestyle. This included numerous religious and ethnic backgrounds. Women who have never spoken to anyone about their sexuality before, because of fear, prejudice or even simple shyness.
On a black stage, with the proscenium arch covered by a myriad of pink tissue flowers (décor Fatimah Alshaikh), is a scarlet settee and some moveable, beige kitchen benches.
The friendly Chairperson and Narrator for the evening was Nicole PearceThe Flood Laila Gampfer This was quite a sad tale about an old lady who, without today’s openness and Google, had no way to know for sure what was happening ‘down below’ and whether she was weird and unique.
The Vagina Workshop Jennifer McGrath Being a little shy about her ‘naughty bits’ and never having really had more than a glimpse at them in the bath, was advised to pick up her blue foam mat and go to Vagina Classes.
Because he liked to look at it Jessica Russell describes her early dates and excitement, especially the night with a voyeur.
The Vulva Club Cicely Binford A girl who was so naive that she possibly thought her friends were in a motoring organisation.
Not so Happy Fact Nicole Pearce We are given the facts about the horrendous treatment of 200 million women around the world, under the pretence of religion or hygiene.
My vagina was my village Sinéad Bevan A poor peasant woman from a war torn country, courageously tells of her everyday abuse.
When I was twelve my mother slapped me The whole cast Becoming an ‘adult’ woman can be exciting and yet traumatic. However, did the trauma always come from the female body, or the so-called loved ones around?
My angry vagina Jennifer Mc Grath Faced with her first period, what does a young woman do to protect herself? Surely a simple Tampax is the answer!
The Little Coochie Snorcher that Could Jessica Russell In your own home, especially at a party, what can go wrong to spoil the evening?
(This episode initially described the rape of a 13-year-old girl by a 24-year-old woman. Controversially, the girl originally recalled the episode, stating ‘If it was rape, it was good rape’. After multiple protests in America, the age and wording were changed to this production’s phrasing).
Reclaiming the C*** (my censorship for this site) Laila Gampfer Have you been called this by a drunk in the street? Or by someone extremely angry? Well after Laila’s purring and pouting description on how to pronounce the word, you may feel quite flattered to be called a c*** in the future. Will you have the courage to answer Laila’s request?
The woman who loved to make Cicely Binford a woman, who is bored by the monotony of being a barrister, decides to take up a new career.
Vaginas Happy The whole cast An orgasm is a simple climax, common to everyone – or is it?
I was there in the room Laila Gampfer The happiest moment of her life.
A monologue is a formidable task to take on, no feedback or prompting from other cast members. Just raw hard work learning lines. The ladies in this show had to learn a couple of monologues each; some had to then portray an accent, or a person of a much different age.
The cast had then to talk fearlessly on a range of topics. Speaking with confidence and in an interesting manner, to an audience who have possibly only discussed – at a maximum 50 percent - of the subject matter with close friends, and even then, only in the privacy of their own homes.
There may have been the odd person in the audience who needed to be won around to this ‘pornographic’ outburst and then be re-educated, but I think it far more likely that for the first time in their lives they discovered a new freedom and rushed home to the mirror.
The director, Megan Burley, has selected a magnificent cast, all of whom were word perfect and held the audience in the palms of their hands. The theme of the stories ranged from atrocious to hilarious, but I doubt if anybody found anything smutty. There was certainly nothing seedy or visually shocking, just a good down-to-earth discussion.
Don’t think that this isn’t for you – whether male or female – it is. There are things that you need to know and these girls are the perfect ones to tell you. A unique experience. A show NOT to be missed.