Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Vagina Monologues or a play that you can't bring your mom to (though she probably should go)

Last week, I got to be part of Rider's production of the Vagina Monologues. If you haven't seen this show, it's a lot about vaginas. Like, everything you could possibly think of. From what it's like to get your periods, to worrying about hair, to gentile mutilation, rape, orgasms, having babies, loving women, loving yourself, loving the "C" word. There is an entire monologue devoted to the "C" word called "Reclaiming Cunt." There, I wrote it. Deal with it.

I'd only see one production of it before--the one that Penn did about two years ago, but I read the play in my feminist theater class, also at Penn. And then of course I have this latent theater bug, left over from being high school musicals and college plays and children's theater and community theater and various other experiments.

I auditioned with "Because He Liked to Look at It," which is a funny piece about a woman who learns to love her vagina because she meets a man who is fascinated by them. The director asked me to read a different one, "The Woman Who Liked to Make Vaginas Happy." This is a monologue about a female dominatrix who only does sex work with women, in part to teach them how to enjoy sex, how to have pleasure, how to moan. Secretly, I wanted this part, but was too scared to go for it, because it involves a difficult section where the actress demonstrates the moans in "various keys, various tones." The woman who performed it at the Penn version was a show stopper--she brought down the house. So, I got that part. Then I was freaked out because of the last part--where she illustrates ten different ways women moan (sample: the doggy moan, the combo vaginal/clit moan, the diva moan, etc). Luckily, the director decided that we would do that part as a group piece, where each woman did a different moan, In a way, that makes sense, because it's about a woman who likes to make women moan, and then the women do.

We had two rehearsals before the day of the performance, but never got to my part. Then, we had a run through the night of the first show (there were two nights) and I don't think I actually got to do it then either. But I practiced a lot on my own and something kicked in and I was able to do it.

It's not an easy show to watch, because it alternates between these funny, odd monologues and these disturbing facts about how many women are raped or how they're still performing gentile mutilation in many countries to the fact that women are mostly still ashamed of their own body  (we're told to keep it clean, wash it out, shave it, make it presentable) and ashamed of finding pleasure. Like, you're never going to hear a bunch of women standing around in a locker room talking about jerking off. But I feel like with guys, it's like this funny, normal thing.  I've heard more than one guy admit to having contests with other guys to see how many times they could do it in one day. I think the guy who won was up to seven times. No shame, no self consciousness.

More than half of the cast were students, and a few were freshmen. That was totally awesome, and the best part about the show--you have these eighteen years going, Don't tell me my vagina is disgusting, it's amazing.

I'm glad I did it and only slightly a little bit disappointed that I didn't get to do the moans after all.




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