Today I attended the first gathering of the local cast of the upcoming production of the (are you ready?) Vagina Monologues.
It's true. I am going to be a member of the cast of this season's local production, to be held Feb. 9 and 10. Part of me can hardly believe I have signed up for this and part of me can hardly wait to get out there on stage and say all those words out loud that for years I could barely even think!
As I sat in the session today, listening to the self-introductions of the other women in the cast, I relived all my old embarrassment about "naughty" words, got past that brief moment, and then, as we read through the script, wondered what the heck my congregation was going to think about my being up there on stage spouting "Coochie Snorcher" and "Sugar Dish" and "Cunt" and all those other euphemisms and rather questionable terms. I hope they won't be too scandalized.
I'm trying to decide if I'll light a candle at Joys and Concerns in the next couple of weeks and announce my theatrical debut! Maybe I'll get a fairly tame part, but today I got to read part of the segment entitled "My Angry Vagina" and got so into it that I got cheers and guffaws when I finished. Whew! Heady stuff!
There's a lot of laughter because parts of the play are hilarious, but there are also horrifying moments about rape and violence. It was quite an experience to be part of that group today, thinking about our own experiences of love and betrayal, pain and joy. The commonality of women's experience has already begun to draw us together.
There has been criticism of the play by some who feel that it's overly critical of men, too focused on violence and brutality. I didn't get that version today, I guess, as the 40 or so scenes we read were pretty well balanced. Still, there's something initially quite shocking about women saying out loud all the slang words for vagina, boldly and without embarrassment or reticence. These words have been often used in debasing ways. The play turns that debasement into glory and honor and pride. May it be so.