The Vagina Monologues

Hawkes Bay Opera House, Hastings

25/03/2011 - 26/03/2011

Production Details

Theatrecomrades present The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler
performed as part of V-Day, a global movement to end violence against women and girls.
The local beneficiary of this fundraising event is Dove Hawke’s Bay.

V-Day and The Vagina Monologues return to titillate, tantalise and raise funds and awareness for a worthy cause! This year the production will be co-directed by Theatrecomrades members Sally Richards and Megan Peacock-Coyle. They will be working closely with a fabulous local cast as well as two professional actors from Auckland and Wellington. 

V-Day is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls that raises funds and awareness through benefit productions of Playwright/Founder Eve Ensler’s award winning play The Vagina Monologues and other artistic works.In 2010, over 5400 V-Day benefit events took place produced by volunteer activists in the U.S. and around the world, educating millions of people about the reality of violence against women and girls.

Tickets are now on sale with an early bird special so get in quick as tickets will go fast! 

The Vagina Monologues
25th & 26th March 7.30pm (pre-entertainment from 6.30pm)
Hawkes Bay Opera House
Bookings thought TICKETDIRECT – (06) 871 5282 or 0800 224 224 service fee applies 
Ticket Prices:
Adult: $35.00
Concession (Seniors 65+ or Student with ID): $30.00
Encore Club: $25.00
Group 10+: $25.00

Alix Bushnell – ‘Reclaiming Cunt’, ‘Vagina Happy Fact’
Melissa Billington – ‘Because He Liked to Look at It’, ‘The Little Coochi Snorcher That Could’
Tansy Hayden – ‘The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy’, ‘My Vagina Was My Village’
Lynda Corner – ‘My Angry Vagina’
Ali Beal – ‘Crooked Braid’
Sarah Erickson – ‘Hair’
Wendy Beauchamp – ‘The Flood’, ‘I Was There in the Room’
Andy Brigden – ‘The Vagina Workshop’ ‘Not So Happy Fact’

Production Manager: Andy Brigden
Original Music performed by Renee Sheridan
Sound: Dominic Coyle
Lighting: Dane Fletcher 

Heart and humanity

Review by Kirsty van Rijk 26th Mar 2011

The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler walks a delicate balance between political activism and entertaining theatre. When it was first performed the content was shocking politically, socially, theatrically. But as a feminist text, I’m not sure The Vagina Monologues hasn’t lost some of its impact as the changes it sought have come of age.

I just don’t think vaginas are embarrassing or secret anymore, and I don’t think my vagina is the basis for my empowerment.  But then The Vagina Monologues is more than a political vehicle, it is also a play.

Megan Peacock and Sally Richards, of Theatre Comrades, have approached this production from a perspective that elevates the pleasures of theatre rather than as a piece of political activism, although there is politics here aplenty, and even a challenge to our current accepted mores. This is in the form of the inclusion of a recorded interview with a six year old girl, answering questions about her vagina. Are we shocked? And is this a political or theatrical decision?

The pre show entertainment is lively and colourful, although I feel a drag queen may have a few hardened feminists wondering why someone who hasn’t a vagina is a good opening act for a play about the empowerment of people who have vaginas. This certainly indicates that Richards and Peacock are firmly on the “theatre” side of the argument.

The opening of the play is all politics. A digital presentation describes Ensler’s goals, achievements and ‘V-Day’: a day designated to raise awareness about the levels of violence against women in our communities and around the world. 

Then on with the show. As a piece of theatre, it is very entertaining, taking us on a rapid ride from bathos to pathos and back again in a series of pithy, earthy monologues from a range of women talking about their vaginas. Ensler interviewed thousands of women, and wrote her monologues from those interviews. Additional monologues have been added, and the play has been updated with a recent inclusion about the Haiti earthquake. 

The Vagina Monologues could, theoretically, be performed as a solo show (given a very energetic actress), or host a cast of dozens. Most productions cast four actresses and this production stars eight, performing multiple monologues.

The lovely, ethereal Alix Bushnell – of Go Girls fame – demonstrates the full range of climactic ‘moans’ with enthusiasm and comedic, well, balls. Bushnell’s performance is confident and professional and yet collegial; a show-stealing performance of the highest pure entertainment value.

Another standout comedic monologue that pleases the audience is ‘The Angry Vagina’, performed by Lynda Corner. Angry? Yes. Hilarious? Absolutely. She works the audience like a stand-up comedy pro.

Tansy Hayden performs two monologues: the sassy, confident sex worker and the immensely poignant monologue of the broken Bosnian rape victim. Hayden has no difficulty conveying the complexities of both characters and I will be watching whatever she is performing in next.

The cast as a whole pack punch into their punch-lines, and leave the pauses in their sorrows. Although there are a few wobbly moments it pays to remember some of the actresses are not professionals and, while this could be considered unwise casting, it fits well with the ethos of Ensler’s vision and the collectivity of Theatre Comrades. 

The simplicity of the set supports the weight of the performance being the monologues themselves, and kudos to the actresses for carrying the show. The few props, however, prove an occasional impediment. One of Hayden’s monologues, delivered as she moves upstage, is obscured by a white chair downstage. This is distracting and annoying and, in addition, the move to back stage causes a degree of mic volume to be lost. There are odd blocking fumbles, which suggest the cast, who are individually well rehearsed, have not worked together enough.

Small grumbles aside, the production has heart, and that’s what theatre is – and politics should be – about. So, is this a political production or a theatrical one? Ultimately the audience, not the critic, decides, and what the audience responded to was the humanity of the play rather than its political messages. I’d say it was good theatre. 
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.   


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council