Within the theater community we have erected certain gods to reign over the
art, from the ancient Sophocles, Shakespeare, and the recently departed Arthur
Miller our gods convey messages, often poignant and more enduring than those
of the popular entertainment, be it from the now forgotten playwrights of the
Victorian era or the contemporary Hollywood film.
Sketch female Comedy Tape Vag-gina This is the first comedy tape I ever
did. Its a collection of some characters I do. It's very random, but I think
its quite amusing.
More often than not, the prolific and enduring playwrights are sufficiently
controversial in their time; but, perhaps, none of these three meets the
rigorous scrutiny faced by, arguably, the theater world's greatest living
playwright at this time, Eve Ensler. Her work is controversial. It challenges
the very basic notions of our society governing everything from the boardroom
to the bedroom. Her name recognition, or more aptly the name of her greatest
work, "The Vagina Monologues," is a well-known term to almost all
She is, depending on whom is asked, an activist in the spirit of the 1960s
and a dangerous agitator purveying smut. Love her or hate her, her work has
altered the theatrical landscape in immeasurable ways in the past decade. On
March 30 in the Fenn Tower Ballroom, as a part of a larger V-Day celebration,
her "Vagina Monologues" was staged.
My angry va-gina
YettaYoung Productions presents "The Va gina Monologues." V-Day
This film clip piece is Phyllis Yvonne Stickney performing
Perhaps before discussing the "Vagina Monologues" it would be
wise to explore theater as an art form and a medium of social change. Unlike
movies, which are often only entertainment, to see which studio can stage the
largest explosion peppered with the occasional deep and reflective film,
theater exists on a much deeper level. Theater operates on the premise of
making a viewer think.
In numerous conversations with actors I have heard, "The reason I
portrayed so-andso in this way was to convey this emotion or this idea."
Granted some plays are just for fun, but behind even the lighthearted humor
there lurks a deeper message. In some productions this message is more
pronounced; Arthur Miller freely admitted his "Death of a Salesman"
was specifically written to tear down the illusions of the American Dream and
"The Crucible" was intended to expose the Red Scare for the gross
violation of rights it was.
Puppetry of the V...
Other are less subtle. Shakespeare famously replied to the question of
whether or not Hamlet was insane by quoting lines from the play itself. Ensler
is not Shakespeare, she does not pretend the intent of her work is anything
short of achieving equality for women, to make women comfortable with the very
basic fact of being themselves.
Often viewed as a citadel of the elite, bohemian and otherwise strange, the
social impact of theater in the modern context is questionable; however, by
the massive public embrace and outrage that "The Vagina Monologues"
generated Ensler has bridged that gap in many ways.
As a charitable performance, two women demonstrate the various types of
org asms. The V agina Monologues - The Moans 5min25sec
I have seen preparations for this proactive production on campuses as elite
as Washington D.C.'s Georgetown University to the comparatively more middle
class Cleveland State. In a Time magazine interview, Ensler recounted
productions in backwater villages in the Philippines and remote African
hamlets, so much for the notion that theater, practically radical theater, is
a vehicle for forces so unlike us in their elitist slant.
While most plays are advertised only in arts publications, on theatrical
web sites or in the reviews that I and my fellow critics at other publications
pen, "The Vagina Monologues" has gained an almost cult following
which advertises in ways akin to up and coming musical acts.
In 2005 I was shocked to find a gargantuan advertisement chalked into the
pavement on Red Square at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. Fliers
typically abound, as do loud and vocal announcements of the production, at
Cleveland State that did not come to pass, in part because of the rushed
nature of production. While the message is passionately supported by some, it
is vehemently opposed by others.
Ensler's premise is simple and best summed up by one of the long standing
phrases of the women's movement, "Feminism is the radical notion that
women are people."
Va gina Monologues - Little Coochi Snorcher That Could 2.2 film clip
Ensler, and similar playwrights, whose work advances the cause of a
minority or oppressed group, seek to make that idealistic phrase a reality.
The struggle is not an easy one, opposition is fierce. A production of
"The Vagina Monologues" is scarcely complete without protests. At
campuses across the nation, primarily Jesuit campuses, Newman Catholic
Ministries is commonly at the forefront of the protest, the CSU chapter's
campus minister, Greg Stevens, was unaware that the piece was being produced
on campus. An e-mail message to the Cleveland Catholic Diocese for a statement
The Vagi na Monologues - I Was 12 1.8
To its opponents, Ensler's work, and the empowerment of women it professes
is a dangerous precedent raising questions which are perhaps easier to ignore
than address, carefully cloaked and whisked away by dogmatic interpretations
of theology or the intense desire to maintain the social status quo.
Theater, of course, rejects the status quo because of its long standing
emphasis on the pivotal rule of free thinking and unhindered expression.
Ensler encourages us to do just that. Productions of "The Vagina
Monologues," mounted every year primarily on college campuses, are a part
of a broader event, "V-Day," whose primary objective is an end to
violence against women.
Violence need not be in a physical sense; pay is still unequal, society as
a whole tends to objectify women as sexual objects while simultaneously
shrouding female sexuality in a mystique of shame. VDay's slogan is
"Until It Ends," understandably inequality still abounds, thus
Ensler's work occupies a vital part of the theatrical and societal discourse.
Ironically, one of the most potent arguments against "The Vagina
Monologues," and truly any similar movement, is a perverse argument for
equality. The reasoning goes that since women are theoretically equal in
today's world it is unnecessary for them to seek to achieve greater equality
and efforts such as Ensler's actually hurt the equality by other groups.
This statement has spawned parodies of Ensler's work such as the
"Penis Monologues" which received lackluster reviews in New York's
theater community off-Broadway. The fundamental charge against the
"Monologues" is typically answered with the systematic oppression
and second-class citizen status women have faced as held in a series of
Supreme Court cases from the 1970s.
Ensler's message is simple: equality and the celebration of womanhood,
while audiences tend to be overwhelmingly female it is a message which all of
society can, and should, take in. The controversial nature of the work has
offended some to the point of protest, it has inspired others to take up their
first theatrical role.
This play, readable in about three hours time maximum, does everything
theater is supposed to do: it brings relevant and timeless ideas to the
theatrical discourse which span over into aspects of our everyday lives.