Vagina Monologues was a play originally conceived by Eve Ensler in 1996. Since its premier in New York city, the play has been translated into more than 20 languages and is running across many countries in the world, of course with local actors and sometimes local adaptation. Perhaps, that’s what plays and theatre are all about; Improvisation and Spontaneity.
In India, Vagina Monologues is playing since 2003 and runs to full houses in metros like Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata and Bhubaneswar. Apart from the English version, the play has also been translated to Hindi as “Kissa Yoni Ka”.
Produced – Poor Box Productions
Directed – Mahabanoo Mody Kotwal
Cast – Mahabanoo Mody Kotwal, Dolly Thakore, Jayati Bhatia, Avantika Akerkar and Sonali Sachdev.
Without revealing much of the premise, Vagina Monologues as the title suggests revolves around monologues of women of varying age and status. They discuss their sexual experiences (good and bad) and tackle one hysterical question “If Vaginas could speak?”
With a run time of an approximate hour and 15 min, Vagina Monologues has a taut script and in spite of being a series of monologues, rarely leads to boredom. The play is supported by a lively and electrifying performance from the entire cast.
Intelligently divided into monologous chapters, this brilliant act touches themes like orgasm, menstruation, rape, girl child abuse, female genital mutilation, child-birth and every other sexuality aspect from a woman’s point of view. But do not be fooled, that this play is grim and serious. Sure, the play tackles an important subject but it is well balanced with laughter and equal doses of emotions to get you pondering. Its blunt, straight forward, in your face and free of pervertness and hypocrisy. Overall, Vagina Monologues celebrates sexuality.
Vagina Monologues has had its share of obstacles initially, more so because of a bold concept and an unapologetic screenplay. While actresses Marissa Tomei and Jane Fonda came in support of the play and visited Chennai in 2004 for a special performance, the play was banned by the locals. The play also saw a ban in Ahmadabad and Lucknow over the years that followed, apart from lack of sponsors and refusal from actors to play roles. In spite of these difficulties, Vagina monologues has today managed to emerge as a path breaking play in a country that is culturally and traditionally unbending.
This is a play for the women, by the women. And the man??? Well, he’s sidelined here but he is definitely going to have a changed perspective once the play has culminated.
Vagina monologues is strictly for adults and every attempt is made to make the viewer aware while booking for the same. In our case, we even received a reminder call from the online ticketing merchant informing an “Adults Only” show.
Look out for this play at the nearest metro or keep your fingers crossed, they arrive in your city. They always keep traveling across major metros. Going by the successful run and accolades Vagina Monologues has achieved so far, it only seems like this extremely bold play will expand to reach many more Indian cities; And if anything, that will be a Liberating sign, really!
(Note: I do not own the picture displayed in this blog. It has been added for Pictorial representation sake. All text can get boring to read sometimes)