Keep Your Vaginas to Yourselves | Letters | Chicago Reader

Keep Your Vaginas to Yourselves 

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Dear Mr. [Albert] Williams:

I have just spent $55 to see a Sunday matinee of The Vagina Monologues. I thought this show was going to celebrate, rather than violate, women. I, as a woman, feel completely exploited from this experience. First, let me explain that I attend off-Loop (and off-off-Loop) theaters regularly. This was not a once-a-year get-together with the girls outing for me (as it appeared to be for a large portion of the audience).

$55 for an 80-minute (although it was promoted as 90 minutes) long show that requires no set, no props, no costumes, no music, no memorizing of lines, and obviously very little direction is a rip-off in itself. When you realize that about 98 percent (my guesstimate) of the audience is female, it is painfully obvious that women are the victims of this rip-off production.

Yes, there were a few excellent and very poignant monologues, beautifully done by Rondi Reed (on child sexual abuse) and Rose Abdoo (the shamed older woman from Brooklyn and the woman who was angry about tampons and speculums). But the orgasm monologue done by Melanie (whose last name I do not recall) was an expansion of the coffee shop scene from When Harry Met Sally, a very unoriginal piece.

I very much respect the actresses who performed. But wasn't this the easiest gig they ever had--sitting down for 80 minutes in front of an audience, performing about one-third of that time, having a script on your lap....Seems like it was a "fun" thing for them, don't you think?

I understand that a small portion of each ticket goes to a charity that was created to prevent violence against women. This concept is admirable, and at $55 a ticket, I would not take issue if at least one-third of the ticket amount was donated to a charitable cause.

I had to write this E-mail, although quite frankly, I wasn't sure who to send it to. I read and respect your views and critiques on theater. Does anyone else share this view? Am I the only one who didn't LOVE this play?

Francine Less



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