"I say vagina because I want people to respond," says playwright Eve Ensler, creator of the hilarious, disturbing soliloquies in The Vagina Monologues
, a book based on her one-woman play. And respond they do--with horror, anger, censure, and sparks of wonder and pleasure. Ensler is on a fervent mission to elevate and celebrate this much mumbled-about body part. She asked hundreds of women of all ages a series of questions about their vaginas (What do you call it? How would you dress it?) that prompt some wondrous answers. Standouts among the euphemisms are tamale, split knish, choochi snorcher, Gladys Siegelman--Gladys Siegelman?
--and, of course, that old standby "down there." "Down there?" asks a composite character springing from several older women. "I haven't been down there since 1953. No, it had nothing to do with [American president] Eisenhower." Two of the most powerful pieces include a jagged poem stitched together from the memories of a Bosnian woman raped by soldiers and an American woman sexually abused as a child who reclaims her vagina as a place of wild joy.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Ensler, famous, maybe notorious, for her witty, wildly popular meditation on female sexuality, The Vagina Monologues
(1998), is as much journalist as playwright. Even her more traditional plays, such as this one, are based on extensive research. For Necessary
Targets, she went to Bosnia to interview women who had survived the recent, brutal war. As in the Vagina Monologues
, her hard work pays off. The play is a sobering reminder of the barbarism committed in the name of national sovereignty. Its accounts of the Serbian use of terror, especially rape, as a weapon against civilians are especially chilling. But the play is more than another news account of the war. Ensler shapes her findings into a series of compelling, highly characterized portraits of the refugees and a pair of well-meaning, sometimes misguided American women who come to help them. Ensler's portrayals avoid the easy cliches of quick-hit news stories and convey human experience in all its painful complexity. Jack HelbigCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved