Perhaps the most important aspect of Eve Ensler's "The Vagina Monologues" is that through its blunt language and sometimes explicit gesturing, the production forces both men and women alike to acknowledge and embrace female sexuality.
On February 18, the University of Utah's ASUU presented the play as part of the 2005 worldwide participation in V-Day, a global movement that supports anti-violence organizations throughout the world. The show took place at Kingsbury Hall, and featured a variety of local women who volunteered many hours of preparation to their performance.
Though the performance was presented by mostly amateurs, the production as a whole was quite impressive. Dressed in red tops and black bottoms, the women gave articulate and convincing performances that aroused a variety of responses from the audience.
"The Vagina Monologues" is an accumulation of testimonies that Ensler obtained from interviews with over 200 women. The audience became quickly aware of this honest source as questions such as "What would your vagina wear?" are answered through the monologues of various women.
The monologues are successful in that they vary so drastically from one woman to another. Some of the women are very straightforward, while others nearly blush when having to say the dreaded "v-word." Ensler was aware of this shameful attitude that many women have towards their own sexuality. Her interviewing genius is revealed throughout the monologues as women gradually become more comfortable with their bodies and openly discuss how they were able to feel comfortable about not only their bodies, but more specifically, their vaginas.
The monologues are often times very funny, as many of the women address the torture of tampons and gynecological exams. Other times, however, the monologues are nearly too painful to listen to. The purpose of V-Day is to raise money to prevent the abuse of women. Naturally, the audience must listen as some of the monologues describe women in Juarez, Mexico who are raped and brutally abused. Others speak of women in Afghan whose faces are burned off by acid. These stories were overwhelmingly disturbing, made more so because they were true.
The various women gave wonderful performances. Many of them spoke with such convincing accents that they nearly transformed completely into another person. The coordinator of the production, Babs de Lay, was the final woman to give a monologue. Hers was instantly a favorite, as she portrayed a woman who went from being a lawyer to a sex therapist, and who learned that she loved to make other women moan. Her many examples of different types of women and the various sounds that they made in response to sexual pleasure were hilarious. Perhaps it was even funnier that when women in the audience laughed, it was obvious that the different responses were coming from those who knew from experience.
The overall production of the V-Day presentation of The Vagina Monologues was most definitely a success. The production serves many important purposes, not only forcing both women and men to acknowledge and embrace female sexuality and genitalia, but also educating those individuals of the importance of ending violence against women. It reminds the audience that all women are beautiful and sends the message that women should be proud to have a vagina.