That's a word many people don't like hearing, much less saying, but local theatergoers haven't been able to escape it lately. The Vagina Monologues, which came through Denver last summer and hit Boulder last fall, is back to expose audiences to the world "down there."
On February 27, the very candid vagina show will return for a one-night-only production at the Boulder Theater to benefit Moving to End Sexual Assault. The event is sponsored by V-Day Boulder, part of Monologues author Eve Ensler's worldwide campaign to stop violence against women. From March 7 through 9, the Rape Assistance and Awareness Program will bring the play to the University of Denver, with proceeds benefiting Denver charities. If you can't catch either of those dates, the national touring company will return this summer for a three-week run of The Vagina Monologues at the Temple Buell Theatre.
That's a lot of vagina talk for one town.
"This is not a bunch of women on a stage being militant and screaming the word 'vagina,'" says Tracy Stegall, artistic director of next week's Boulder production. "It's outrageously poignant."
A collection of narratives -- some bawdy, some sentimental, some both -- the play is based on interviews that Ensler conducted with over 200 women, from a Long Island antiques dealer to a Bosnian refugee. They talked about everything from giving birth to orgasmic moans, asking such important questions as: If your vagina got dressed, what would it wear? But the show is entertaining and empowering at the same time.
According to V-Day Boulder, 24 percent of the women living in Colorado have been sexually assaulted; at the close of the Boulder show, District Attorney Mary Keenan will discuss the impact of rape on the community. That performance, for which local actresses are volunteering their talents, also will include a new piece, "Under the Burqa," on the plight of Afghan women. (The Denver production will donate 10 percent of its proceeds to the Afghan Women's Relief Fund.)
For those still feeling squeamish about spending an hour or two listening to monologues about speculums, genital mutilation and coochie snorchers -- even for a good cause -- Stegall talks tough. "Take a risk," she says. "It's fully worth it."