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Love Your Vagina

‘The Vagina Monologues’ Delivers a Powerful Message

By Pey-Hua Hwang

Staff Writer

The Vagina Monologues

Kresge Little Theater

Feb. 20-22, 8 p.m.

Written by Eve Ensler

The Vagina Monologues was a sold-out show, so, as expected, it started late. However, just as it is worth waiting for a proper orgasm, so too is it worth waiting for a well-paced and well-performed show. The fact that all the proceeds go to good causes doesn’t hurt either.

The best thing about the show was the variety in the monologues. Having never seen The Vagina Monologues before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was slightly worried that they might just be a terrible feminist harangue or horribly preachy, but I soon had all of these worries erased. Ensemble cast performances were interspersed between the monologues. More humorous anecdotes like “My Angry Vagina” were followed by deeply moving pieces about abuse and oppression.

The producer, Ruth M. Perlmutter ’04, kept saying that the show would have no intermission before it started. After watching the show, I understood why. Each piece was placed strategically to keep the audience off balance, engaged, and most certainly awake. I have often been disappointed by the lack of projection in many MIT productions, but this was certainly not the case in this show. In fact, at certain points I wouldn’t have minded having the volume knob turned down a notch, and there were no body microphones.

The tone of the Vagina Monologues was similar to that of Bowling for Columbine. It took serious issues and spun them from humorous angles; however, the message was still there. In a short interlude between two longer pieces, Heather Doering ’05 presented an “Outrageous Fact”: several states in the United States outlaw the possession and sale of vibrators, while the sale of guns is perfectly legal. Her next statement brought down the house: “We have yet to hear of a mass murder committed with a vibrator.”

Although all of the monologues were well-delivered, a couple were particularly outstanding. “Reclaiming Cunt,” delivered by Adrienne M. Irmer ’04, was a fabulous performance piece. Waving a wine bottle and a plastic cup she presented the significance of each of the letters in the word. At one point she even had audience members yelling the word “cunt.”

Neha R. Booshan ’04 delivered a touching monologue called “My Vagina Was My Village,” about a gang rape. The contrast between the flashbacks to innocence and the scared withdrawn shell of the present were completely manifested in Booshan’s expressive features.

The show closed with a monologue dedicated to the wonder of childbirth. It was a fitting ending and allowed the symbol of new life to close the show on a note of hope.

The audience was very receptive, and there was a surprising number of males in attendance. There was even a member of MIT Medical available to discuss issues with people after the show.

In short, The Vagina Monologues, though sparse in set (only chairs and a curtain) and simple in costume (only red and black), delivered a clear and powerful message: women should love their bodies, their vaginas, and most importantly, themselves.