The Vagina Monologues | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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The Vagina Monologues


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Eve Ensler's play is a raucous, funny, wide-ranging demonstration of women's refusal to be silenced. (If you wonder whether anyone's still trying to silence us, consider that WXRT won't accept advertising for the piece so its listeners won't have to hear that word.) The evening is vulnerable to the critique that it pays too much attention to the sexual and too little to the reproductive function of vaginas; but hell, even the most fecund among us won't employ our vaginas for childbirth more than eight or ten times while the simple possession of one in a misogynist society constrains a woman's opportunities that many times a day. Ensler explores those constraints in monologues touching on everything from rape as an instrument of war to euphemisms for the body part that dare not speak its name. To men, the evening offers the pleasures of eavesdropping on women, a pleasure that's made Sex in the City a hit; they rarely hear good of themselves, but that's the fate of eavesdroppers. Though the piece was more polished and affecting when Ensler did it herself here a few months ago, its current incarnation, featuring three actresses, is worth seeing, largely for the astonishing Rose Abdoo. While her compatriots Rondi Reed and Melanie Chartoff are undermining the material with nudges and winks, Abdoo engages it directly. Her version of the monologue beginning "my vagina is angry" is even better than Ensler's, and her rendition of the line "Don't let them tell you it smells like rainwater when it's supposed to smell like pussy!" is worth the price of admission. Abdoo and Reed appear through December 31, and Chartoff through December 10 (Leila Kenzle replaces her December 12-31). Apollo Theater, 2540 N. Lincoln, 773-935-6100. Through January 21: Tuesdays-Fridays, 8 PM; Saturdays, 6 and 9 PM; Sundays, 3:30 and 7 PM; Friday, December 22, 7 and 10 PM; Sunday, December 24, 3:30 PM only; Friday, December 29, 7 and 10 PM; Sunday, December 31, 7 and 10 PM; no show Tuesday, December 26. $49.50-$55. On Sunday, December 31, the 7 PM show is $60 and the 10 PM show is $65; a champagne toast is included for both shows. Note: $10 from every full-price and group-sale ticket will be donated to the V-Day Fund, which supports local, national, and international organizations working to end violence against women.

--Kelly Kleiman

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Karen Hoyt.

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