The Vagina Monologues premiered in 1996. It is an episodic play written by Eve Ensler. As the name suggests, this play focuses on women and their experiences.
“Each monologue deals with an aspect of the feminine experience — so I relate to ALL of the monologues in some way or another as a woman,” Robyne Parrish the artistic director and co-education director of the Gilbert Theater said. “Frankly, because I have a vagina, I can empathize with all of the characters no matter what the subject matter or theme of the monologue. And of course, all of the themes are as important today as when the play was written in the ‘90s. One recurring theme in the play is that the vagina is a tool of empowerment for the female; the ultimate embodiment of individuality. I think we (women) can all agree that this will never change.”
The play is set to open at Gilbert Theater on June 3.
Despite being written in the late ‘90s, these monologues have maintained relevance. The Gilbert Theater took a bold step and added an extra layer to the modern and local political relevance of the play. This production takes a stand for for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual Ally Community.
“For one thing, we are featuring a transgender character in our Vagina Monologues. This is very important to us at the Gilbert Theater — clearly a major issue in our society today and particularly in North Carolina what with the HB2 bill screaming through our lives,” Parrish said. “Most transgender people face discrimination every day — before HB2 and once it is demolished. We embrace the trans community and will represent them in a way that is thoughtful and meaningful. Our trans character was born in the body of a man and identifies as a woman. She has fully transitioned as the play begins.”
The Vagina Monologues is not just for women, however. These stories are relevant for the entire community. And beyond being a powerful political statement, this is also an entertaining work of art. Parrish specifically says that men “Should absolutely see the play. They will laugh a lot and learn a lot. It is an important work to see if you never have. The cast is strong and powerful — some of our best local ladies. Bring your wife or girlfriend for a fun and powerful evening at the theater and listen.”
Ensler’s work is empowering, real and important but also entertaining and relatable. When she first wrote The Vagina Monologues she was directly addressing a taboo subject, but it is through art that pushes the envelope and challenges the status quo that society and the community can progress. “Some of the ladies of my mothers generation and beyond don’t even like to SAY the word vagina,” Parrish explained. “It is considered a very private word and very private place. But of course, breaking out of this prison of silence is exactly Eve Ensler’s wish… I would say to the women of our community — be brave! Come out and support your local artists and just experience the words. You will identify. You will see yourself in the mix. Don’t be afraid of the vagina!”
The Vagina Monologues are at the Gilbert Theater from June 3-12. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.gilberttheater.com or call 678.7186.