McKnight was undoubtedly the standout of the group: THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES Review
THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES written by Eve Ensler – EXPLORES THE MYSTERIES OF “DOWN UNDER”
THE WAY JACQUES COUSTEAU PROBED THE SALTY SEA
Review by Freelance Writer– Eugenia Wright
“Oh my God, oh My God” is all I could utter as I sat there stunned by the performances in The Vagina Monologues, Thursday, March 17th @ The Wilshire Ebell Theatre. The unique piece, which has been performed in the US and Europe, was directed this night by Penny Marshall and delivered by some of the finest actresses in the biz. Every seat was filled and outside the streets were jammed with heavy traffic. As I circled the area to find parking because the lots were filled to
capacity all I could see were women in droves scurrying to the theatre as if TD Jakes was preaching a sequel to his famous sermon “Woman Thou Art Loosed.”
Well, The Vagina Monologues, one of the most powerful plays I have ever seen will loosen you up, shake you down, stir you up and spit you out with earthquake laughter and serious reflection. It takes you on an adventure to boldly examine the mysteries of the deep as thorough as Jacques Cousteau explored the salty ocean floor!
First of all every woman has one and yet it remains a complex taboo subject. However, The Vagina Monologues will set the record straight. In the beginning of the play, the word Vagina is conjugated but the first roar of laughter from the house comes when “show stealer” Comedian Annie McKnight takes center stage and shatters the audience calling the word what it is with all feline ferocity….Pussy! And that’s just the opening (no pun intended).
As the adventure continues, Veteran actress Marla Gibbs tells the story of “The Flood.” She portrays an old woman who shares with us her first date experience and how she wet the seat of her boyfriend’s car because of her reaction “down there” to his kiss. Embarrassed by the situation and fearing future floods from “down there”, she vows never to engage in a relationship again and ends up an old maid living a life of wet dreams with Burt Reynolds, soaked knee deep in the reservoir of her
The Vagina Monologues also takes us to a V workshop that further enlightens, what it is, what it does, how it looks, how it works and how we react. Actress Wendy Raquel Robinson gives an excellent performance in this hysterically funny segment of the play.
Lisa Rinna delivers a biatchee monologue about short skirts and her right to wear them and flaunt her calves. She reminds everyone that what’s underneath belongs to her and her alone and that her short skirt is not license for debauchery.
Tracee Ellis Ross, portrays a young girl whose first sexual encounter and seduction was by an older woman, who becomes her “L” teacher/lover. Ross handles the humor and serious aspect of the story with ease.
Mo’nique gives an unforgettable divalicious performance as a “dominatrix.” She shares her experiences by vocalizing a variety of sexually gratifying sounds that emanate from her subjects. She had so many sounds on her menu, Verizon would be envious. I didn’t know Mo’nique had such flexible vocal ability. In-control wearing a black satin negligee she paced on stage like a sexy Black Panther.
Loretta Devine, further shed light on the V subject with her monologue “Reclaiming Cunt.” She must have said the word a zillion times stressing the first consonant. Devine gives a strong performance.
In between the longer monologues, a chorus of actresses perform and share their on-going tales. They include Desiree Coleman-Jackson, Annie McKnight, Renee Elaine, Gigi Bolden and Sophie Comet. Although all the ladies were extremely talented, each and every time well established comedienne/Actress Annie McKnight, opened her mouth and delivered her lines, she made the house roar with bellyache laughter. McKnight was undoubtedly the standout of the group.
The entire cast, Erika Alexander, Gigi Bolden, Anne Cobbin, Loretta Devine, Denise Dowse, Renee Elaine, Tracee Ellis-Ross, Desiree Jackson-Coleman, Sophie Comet, Marla Gibbs, Teri Hatcher, Annie McKnight, Mo’nique, Lori Petty, Lisa Rinna, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Sommore, and Jamie White gave a uniformed excellent performance. Director Penny Marshall put it all together and did it superbly.
The Vagina Monologues is a must see play. It’s quite an education. A stunning piece written by a woman named after the first woman of creation… Eve (Ensler), the first woman of the universe. This night’s performance produced by Kenadie Cobbin benefited Speak Out Against Domestic Violence.
At the end of the show, women in the audience who had been abused were asked to stand up. A third of the house stood up. Then, the audience was asked if you know of a woman who has been abused, stand up and the entire house stood up.
You may write to Eugenia Wright @ firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo Credit: Clinton Wallace (Photomundo)