The Vagina Monologues comes to Calgary

How comfortable are you with the word ‘vagina’? How comfortable are you with your own vagina? Have you looked at it? What would it wear if it was a person? What what it say? These are all questions that The Vagina Monologues asks, and sometimes answers, in only 60 minutes.

The famous play was brought to Calgary as part of the Fringe Festival, an uncensored, non-juried theatre festival that returns 100% of the profits of the shows to the artist. The Vagina Monologues decided to donate their profits to various women’s charities.

Blair Gallant, the director of Calgary’s edition of The Vagina Monologues, spoke with Vamp about the importance of the play.

“It was written decades ago but the story’s still relevant. A lot of the issues and the ways we see women, although there’s been a progression since the time that it was written, there’s still more work to do.” Gallant explains. “I felt like their was a voice that could be heard in terms of allowing some of those stories to kind of impact whoever might come see the show.”

After seeing the show Friday, it was clear that the Calgary production was a good representation of the emotional roller coaster that The Vagina Monologues so famously portrays. Including monologues like My Vagina Was My Village, about a Bosnian woman who was raped, and My Angry Vagina, a humorous piece about the injustices vaginas face, Calgary’s monologues didn’t disappoint.

The humour and cultural relevance of the play doesn’t disappoint anybody, from the 16 year old girl seated beside me to the 80 year old man in the front row. In a moment of clarity, I realized how amazing and disheartening it is to be able to relate to women talking about how ashamed they feel of their vaginas.

The Vagina Monologues is a show that draws people’s attention, despite its more controversial aspects, like rape, negative portrayal of men (although I would argue it negatively portrays male dominance, not men), and an adult engaging in sexual activity with a minor in The Little Coochie Snorcher That Could. In spite of these criticisms, it’s performance still holds cultural value.

“It offers a reflection for people to not really have an opinion, but I found that a lot of people started discussions immediately after the show. It could be anything from sexual empowerment to rape to male dominance or whatever it might be, it’s a catalyst for that conversation.” Gallant says.

“People’s experience of it when they go out afterwards, examining who they are, what they are, what they believe, is I think is one of the most important parts of art.”
Check out The Vagina Monologues tonight, get your tickets here.