Wednesday, January 21, 2004

This isn't your parent's "Our Town!"
When looking forward to Valentine's Day the theatre public has come to expect worldwide productions of Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues. In an international program to raise awareness about violence against women venues from Broadway houses, to community theatres, to colleges perform the play, which consists of a series of monologues that can be performed by a single actress or multiple performers. This year there is an unexpected addition to those venues...Amherst Regional High School students will be performing the play.

The school committee apparently approved this production, and it probably would have gone unnoticed except for the conservative idealogues who are looking for anything to fill the daily programming for their shows. And believe me, a subject that gives them legimate cause to say, "vagina," seventy times in a half hour segment and still take a conservative viewpoint must be the manna from heaven they usually only dream of as they listen clandestinely to Howard Stern. It is a little surprising, and disappointing that the major media has not done anything a little more in depth on it; Time Magazine had little more than a blurb. And as a result, we are left with only conservative columns and tabloid video barrages with which to piece it all together. Maybe people in the TheaterMirror Community might be able to share a little more insight.

My mere opinion? I actually think it is an interesting development, and I think that the Bill O'Reilly's of the world might actually have a point when they are worried that The Vagina Monologues, while a legitimate and powerful drama, is a little much for High School. Although I offer that viewpoint hesitantly because I haven't really seen much reporting on the situation, and I will confess that though I have read the play I have never seen it performed.

A fact added to most reports I have seen on the situation is that Amherst Regional High School rejected doing West Side Story because of the negative stereotype of Hispanics the musical presents.

Things I would like to know:

Is this a during-school-hours performance or something the students are putting on at night?

Did the students pick this play?

Here are some websites that offer some background and discussion

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1101040126-578986,00.html

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,109089,00.html

http://www.townhall.com/news/politics/200312/CUL20031231a.shtml

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