Eve Ensler's Vagina Monologues opened Friday night at Newport's Falcon Theater and WOW, what a show. It's been years since I've seen the entire show as an audience member and it was a thoroughly enjoyable and fresh experience. For starters, it's the first production I've seen that involved a man as part of the cast. The sole male cast member served in a narrator-type capacity, dispensing mostly vagina "happy facts" along with a few not so happy facts. The stage was adorned with various styles of chairs for the rest of the cast and solo monologues were given mostly standing. I need to reveal that I've done three V-Day productions of Monologues- one through Youngstown State and two with Kent State Trumbull, all productions directed by men, as was this production also. If you're a woman, and it doesn't matter what you are: gay, straight, bi, single, married, mother, wife, daughter- there's something here for you. And while you may not be able to relate to each and every monologue, you'll likely be able to appreciate them all.
There are wonderful moments when the entire cast is on stage with lines bouncing back and forth across the stage like a super ball (remember those?). I especially liked the shared scene about menstruation. This scene is a perfect example of the complexity and variety inherent in the show. While every woman's had a period and remembers her first one, there's a striking array of how each woman's character dealt with the experience as well as the rendetion of how the character's family handled her emergening womanhood.
My personal stand out favorites in the production included "My Angry Vagina", particularly the part about the cold duck-lips at the gynecologist's office- what woman hasn't experienced that? And of course, Julie from winemedineme gave a stand out, spot on performance in her scenes. I have to admit that my favorite was the actress that did "Coochie Snorcher" and several other scenes. She simply and completely owned the stage in each scene in which she was featured.
There's laugh out loud scenes as well as scenes of heart-rending sadness. From monologues about rape survivors in Bosnia and the plight of Native American women, to The Flood, the gentle humor of Because He Liked To Look At It and answers to what a vagina would say and wear, this show is one to take your mom, daughter or best girlfriend to...or better yet, take all three to this finely crafted production. Remaining shows are Friday and Saturday, June 19 and 20. Reservations are advised; this theater is small.
And for anyone who cares, in each of the productions I was in, I did the monologue about a woman who had a good experience with a man.