The Vagina Monologues – Review

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The Vagina Monologues are a series of stories from real women about, well, vaginas. Playwright Eve Ensler compiled more than 200 interviews with women talking about everything, from sex, to birth, to orgasms. The monologues focus on the vagina, but they tell stories stories about being a woman.

The play is being put on in a new space in Eau Claire Market as part of the Calgary Fringe Festival. It features artists of various skills telling stories about the vagina. They tell stories about a corporate powerful woman who is too busy to look at her vagina. Or how the word sounds like an infection or a medical instrument. They talk about the many words for vagina.

One actress talks about how her vagina is angry. She talks about tampons and pap smears and though the story is compelling, this actress stumbles on her lines and isn’t emotionally involved in her monologue. It takes away from the story’s poignancy.

The next monologue is about a woman who found herself and her vagina to be beautiful because of a sexual experience with a man.

Two actresses switch off telling stories about ‘down there.’ The older woman is embarrassed and doesn’t want to give her interview. The other actress’s story illustrates how very little information was available about female anatomy and she was ashamed of her ‘flooding.’

The play has some compelling, some awkward, some wild stories and depending on who the artist is telling it, it works or it doesn’t. Some artists don’t know the script well enough, or haven’t been directed to sink into the emotional vulnerability of the role. And some are embody their story very nicely. It is jolting to hear women talk so openly and honestly about something that we never discuss. And that’s really nice.

The Vagina Monologues is part of the Calgary Fringe Festival. More information is available online.

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