Penis' Responses to the Vagina Muse | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Penis' Responses to the Vagina Muse 

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Penis' Responses to the Vagina Muse, at the Theatre Building. Ever since writer-performer Eve Ensler began presenting The Vagina Monologues in 1996, it's been ripe for parody. Not because it's flawed but because the playwright's opinions are so strong and her piece has had such a powerful impact on theater and society: it cries out for intelligent examination.

For some reason, though, only dickheads and Camille Paglia have so far taken a stab at the show--or the whole vagina liberation phenomenon. Playwright Dean C. Dauw falls into the first category. A priest turned psychologist-sex therapist, he's clearly obsessed with the male organ in Penis' Responses to the Vagina Muse, filling the stage with rubber penises of every size and shape and haranguing a character called Queen Bee Eve in the guise of a character called Dr. Love (whom he sometimes plays himself).

It's not clear why a man who idolizes dicks would hate a show valorizing vaginas. I always thought the two were natural friends. What is clear is that Dauw (and cowriter "Jane Doe") hates Ensler and her monologues with an almost pathological intensity. And he hates them without understanding in the least what a tour de force her piece is. Every second of this rambling, tiresome, badly written, awkwardly directed, woodenly acted 90-minute show proves that Dauw and the artists he's gathered around him have no sense of what makes good theater and what doesn't.

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