Ah, vagina season: a time for moaning, teary-eyed laughter, self-reflection, awareness and, of course, chanting “cunt” at the top of your lungs as one with an audience in a crowded theatre. Each time I see Vagina Monologues – whether in New York where I saw my first production or in London where I’ve seen my last few – I adore it even more.
It’s real, emotional, passionate, sometimes in-your-face. It cradles you, speaks gently to you, makes you burst into fits of helpless laughter and makes you sad enough to cry for women around the world who have been victims of abuse. It makes you angry, curious and filled with wonder. It builds a sense of companionship with other women rather than one of competition. Mainly, it leaves you feeling empowered.
was invited to press night on Friday by Emma Jane Richards and Annie Saunders, the director and producer of V-Day London. The actresses were dynamic and enthusiastic. The show was hilarious. Last year’s tickets sold out and I have no doubt this year’s will do the same.
If you’re not familiar, Vagina Monologues is part of activist Eve Ensler’s V-Day movement, a global cooperation to raise awareness of violence against women. The proceeds of these yearly productions staged around the world go to a certain cause chosen by Eve. This year, they will help to open the City of Joy, a safe house in the Congo.
While the plight of abused women worldwide is the focus of V-Day as a whole, Vagina Monologues is by no means dry or fact-ridden, nor does it preach about its cause. On the contrary, it is a celebration of women, lifting away taboos and stigmas, filling the theatre with amusing antics on pubic hair, gynaecological “duck lips”, triple orgasmic moaning, experimental lesbianism, a vagina connoisseur called Bob and an old woman’s “down there”. It is meant to make you slightly uncomfortable in the beginning but by the end, you walk away more comfortable than you could have thought possible with all things to do with vaginas.
This year’s production is part of a brand new and exciting festival called See You Next Tuesday, with all events taking place at the New Player’s Theatre nestled in the arches beneath Charing Cross Station. I haven’t missed the chance to see this at least once every year for the last five years, so I would, of course, highly recommend it.
FYI – The audience was at least 30% male and the guys were loving it, so don’t think it’s just for the women!
Last year, I wrote an article on V-Day London 2009 for Seven Magazine and interviewed Emma Jane and Annie which will explain the concept in greater detail.
Venue: New Players Theatre, WC2
Dates of show: March 9th, 12th, 13th, 16th, and 19th at 8pm & March 20th at 2:30pm
For more info, see yesterday’s post on the See You Next Tuesday festival.