Five years ago, the playwright Eve Ensler achieved a small revolution: Single-handedly, she made countless American men nostalgic for ballet. Really. With The Vagina Monologues, Ensler's highly acclaimed, OBIE Award-winning stage production, accompanying one's wife to the ballet -- or the opera, for that matter -- suddenly didn't seem so bad. Weighed against, well, that word, even The Nutcracker lost its ominous import. Men, consider this your heads-up: You've got less than a week to get very, very busy. On Tuesday, June 26, The Vagina Monologues begins a two-week run in Scottsdale.
If you're caught off guard -- or you're keen to display some selfless affection -- take heart. Vagina is not polemical feminism; it is not one woman's harangue. Instead, the play expounds as many perspectives as the numerous stories that inspired it: interviews with a diverse group of women, from a Long Island antiques dealer to a Bosnian refugee, who tackle such non sequiturs as, "If your vagina got dressed, what would it wear?"
Directed by Abby Epstein, the topnotch touring production stars Starla Benford and Sherri Parker Lee. Also taking the stage in Scottsdale are Margot Kidder and Lori Petty, who, dividing one role between them, will each perform for a week.
Like other productions of The Vagina Monologues, the touring show benefits, in part, the V-Day Fund. This national organization sponsors programs to eliminate violence against women. Yet the positive social impact of the work is more than financial: Divested of its taboo, female experience gains immeasurably in respect.