By Jaime Burnet
You are now entering Vagina Country. To your right are the chocolate cupcakes decorated with pink Vs and to your left is a charming coffee table painted in the likeness of the genitalia we all know and love-complete with clit piercing and rippling labia. A dense crowd mills around, heads bobbing to drum beats, enjoying the atmosphere until the show starts.
People seem to like it here, in the land of Vagina. The unsure ones, perhaps, are thinking of the lack in manners to rest their teacup on splayed lips surrounded by leopard print and fluorescent feathers. Those people have a good two hours to get used to the concept of no shame, no apologies and no boundaries embodied by Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues. But the monologues themselves aren’t something to get used to. Controversial, shocking, and sometimes politically incorrect, they are meant to evoke strong feelings and reaction in each audience member. It’s impossible not to, considering the vibrant and talented cast. Under the direction of Marsha Ellen Meidow and Jayde Farand, these individual stories from the lives of real women hit all the right buttons.
The narratives span the entire emotional spectrum, wielding the power to slay an audience with humour, only to reduce them to silent desolation minutes later. Whether an array of orgasmic moans or the divulgence of a flustered old lady to a triumphant tale of vaginal discovery to the painful and terrifying experiences of a young girl in a Bosnian rape camp; every story will leave its mark on your emotional psyche.
Not only do these avant-garde pieces of sexual realization affect the audience, but they seem to transform the women who perform them as well. It isn’t often you get the opportunity to yell “CUNT” at a room full of people and have them shout it back to you. The cast and audience are bound together by the experience of The Vagina Monologues by the last monologue. Together, if only briefly, they form a “community of vaginas”, even the most conservative of theatregoers can share in the passion emanating from the stage. Maybe not passion enough to serve tea and cookies from the pink lips of “Gladys Siegelman”, but these things can be taken one step at a time.