The Vagina Boat | Essay | Chicago Reader

The Vagina Boat 

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The Vagina Monologues, which has been running at the Apollo Theater since the fall of 2000, recently welcomed Marcia Wallace (better known as Carol from The Bob Newhart Show) to its summer lineup. Previous Chicago casts have included Erin Moran (Happy Days), Loretta Swit (M*A*S*H), Kim Fields (The Facts of Life), Dawn Wells (Gilligan's Island), Mayim Bialik (Blossom), and Leila Kenzle (Mad About You). A rotating cast of celebrity guests, many of whom are out-of-work TV stars--hmm, where have we seen that formula before? Yes, The Love Boat. Has The Vagina Monologues become The Love Boat of Chicago theater? Consider the similarities.

The Vagina Monologues

It's been translated into 20 languages and performed in more than a dozen countries.

The cast of characters in this play by a reformed alcoholic includes a sexually adventurous dominatrix, a saucy black lesbian, and a meddling sex therapist.

Playwright Eve Ensler used her fame to garner political influence, taking private meetings in the White House and advising on Hillary Clinton's bid for the Senate.

One of the characters refers to her genitals as a "cootchie snortcher."

In the monologue entitled "My Angry Vagina," a woman expresses sexual rage by screaming "My vagina is pissed off! It's furious and it needs to talk!"

One monologue answers the question, "If your vagina got dressed, what would it wear?"

In the second act a professional sex worker (portrayed in Los Angeles by Teri Hatcher) performs a demonstration of orgasmic moaning.

Eve Ensler: "[People would] scream things like 'There's the vagina lady!' in shoe stores."

The Love Boat

It's been translated into 29 languages and continues to air in more than 93 countries.

The cast of characters on this boat helmed by a reformed alcoholic includes a sexually adventurous doctor, a saucy black bartender, and a meddling purser.

Fred "Gopher" Grandy used his fame to garner political influence, becoming a Republican congressman from Iowa.

Charo, a frequent guest star, constantly exclaims "Cootchie cootchie."

In the episode entitled "Sounds of Silence," rocker Deacon Dark (Sonny Bono) expresses rage by screaming "Smash it! Bash it! Hit it with a hammer and trash it!"

One episode answers the question, "If designer Geoffrey Beene asked you to be a runway model for the cruise's fashion show, what would you wear?"

In the last season the Love Boat Mermaids (who include Teri Hatcher) perform a song-and-dance number that sounds eerily like orgasmic moaning.

Gavin MacLeod: "On the streets, I'm just the Captain."

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