‘Vagina Monologues’ mixes wild comedy with message
Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues” opened Friday night to wild applause and almost continuing shrieks of laughter.
It was a near sellout. It plays again tonight at 8 p.m. and is not to be missed. It’s doubtful if any production in recent memory had the audience as much involved.
Unofficially, it was a 10-to-1 ratio of women to men. It is, after all, a show for women. The $15 ticket revenue goes to a V-DAY benefit nationwide and the local Advocates to End Domestic Violence – and rarely has a benefit rewarded its donors as richly.
It would be impossible to name all the actresses in this production; we did that in the Appeal Thursday. But some moments and some of the cast were more than good, they were notably outstanding.
The boffo scene of the night, when the audience went near wild, was “The Vagina Workshop,” with Rebecca Hogan and the ensemble at a class studying their vaginas with mirrors (fully clad, of course). As Hogan described examining her vagina, the ensemble stretched out in wildly varying positions with mirrors at the ready. It brought down the house.
Earlier, in a group scene again about the vagina (naturally), the ensemble cried out, “If there is one thing the vagina could say to the man, it would be, ‘Slow Down!'”
The response from the audience was to cheers like at a rock concert.
Michelle Calhoun-Fitts, recently Angel in the fine thriller “Red Ryder, When You Comin’ Home?”, exploded onto the stage with a powerful protest about her vagina – “It’s mine and it’s going to stay mine.” She figuratively punched out the stage and the audience.
Kimberly Bodenstein was awed by the fact that “He liked to look at it.”
And eventually, so did she.
A slow build to a great conclusion.
Earlier, director Micha Marie Stevens read a letter from author Ensler that helped get the night off quickly. About halfway through the show, things turn serious for a moment in “My Vagina Was My Village,” a new scene written by Ensler to reflect current women’s problems (originally titled “Under the Burqa”). It’s a poignant moment with Anita Naz in a burqa and Teraisa Rogers dancing the story.
The show plays at the Plaza Hotel and Convention Center at 801 N. Carson St. It’s presented on risers at one end of the conference center main room, with theater lights but no sound system. For the hearing-challenged it would be wise to arrive early and grab up-front seats.
It is being presented by the Wildhorse Theater company with assistance from the Plaza Hotel. All involved are to be congratulated.