As if the play’s title wasn’t arresting enough, “The Vagina Monologues” show in itself holds plenty of other surprises.
The structure of the “The Vagina Monologues” is different than most plays; it doesn’t have the typical two-act composition. Instead, the play’s script, written by Eve Ensler, is composed of stories lifted from and inspired by interviews that Ensler conducted with hundreds of women. These interviews became the series of monologues for the episodic play. They reflected themes of love, respect, shame, embarrassment, pleasure, empowerment and everything in between.
Ensler herself performed the entirety at the premiere in 1996, but most recent adaptations cast three actresses. At the performances at the Pollard Theatre in Guthrie, cast members include Elin Bhaird, Megan Montgomery and Brenda Williams. With such a small cast and little to no stage settings or props, the show is all about the acting. With Pollard’s cast, luckily, it is hard to imagine anyone giving more spirited performances than Bhaird, Montgomery and Williams.
Each actress performed standout moments. Williams had the audience hysterically laughing with her hilarious and energetic rendition of a monologue about reclaiming a certain derogatory word for vagina, using every part of her body to act and make attendees laugh.
Montgomery’s quietly subtle performance telling the story of a Bosnian rape camp survivor was powerful and moving. Despite her blonde hair, Montgomery’s believable accent and reserved body language brought the character to life. Cast member Bhaird shone in a brutal and blunt rant titled “My Angry Vagina,” where she castigated the injustice of tampons and OB/GYNs. Her brazen and unabashed performance contrasted well with other monologues, including her own.
The June 11 show was attended mostly by women, and all ages were represented, but some men were also present. At the show’s conclusion, one man expressed his own surprise, telling a fellow attendee in an undertone that he thought the play had been titled “The Virginia Monologues.”
One way or another, “The Vagina Monologues” is sure to pleasantly surprise. The show’s final performance is Saturday at the Pollard Theatre in Guthrie, 120 W. Harrison Ave.