"How can anybody think about the vagina as Satan?" asked Vagina Monologues playwright Eve Ensler when I interviewed her after her play was called satanic by a group of angry Germantown residents in 2003. Seven years later, Ensler's provocatively named show seems a little less provocative than it did in earlier days when it was criticized by feminists and social conservatives alike and protested everywhere it was performed. The Vagina Monologues is now a February staple, performed annually as part of V-Day all around the country by and for women who want to end violence while celebrating their hoohas.
"For me, this show has become like any well-loved creative work, like a good book that I want to enjoy over and over again," says Vagina Monologues director P. Elizabeth Cawein, explaining why the work continues to attract actors and audiences. "Eve Ensler has actually added to the body of V-Day productions in the past few years with several new works, including a few shows that can be cast with men and women, but The Vagina Monologues remains the iconic piece.
"This show is absolutely for men and women," Cawein continues. "It's a common misconception that it's going to be some big hen party and that no boys are allowed. The fact is, there are parts of this show that are laugh-out-loud funny, no matter your gender or political affiliation or views on just about anything. And there are parts of it that I genuinely believe everyone needs to hear. Everyone needs to know how many women experience female genital mutilation each year. Everyone needs to know how many young girls are raped as a tactic of war. Everyone needs to know the mental and psychological effects of childhood sexual abuse. Everyone. And perhaps what is so powerful about this show, and why it remains so important and relevant, is that it blends fantastic humor with those chilling facts."