Three Alexandria women are staging a production of “The Vagina Monologues,” a boundary-stretching play that has drawn criticism from multiple sides as well as applause.
Dynamo Creative, made up of Kristen Peterson, Jessica Chipman and Becky Byrne, came into being after the three women met during the Andria Theatre’s production of “Mama Mia” last spring.
They enjoyed working together so much they decided to collaborate on other projects, and settled on “The Vagina Monologues” for their opener, they said.
“There has been so much coverage on the ‘Me Too’ movement that it felt like the right time to do this show,” Peterson said.
Byrne added, “The three of us each have daughters and want them to know that it’s safe and okay to have authentic and sometimes frank conversations about the topics presented in ‘The Vagina Monologues.’”
Hosted by Ripple, an organization that focuses on women’s connections and wellness, the play will take place in the Yoga One studio, a space that can hold up to 70.
“The Vagina Monologues” is a collection of fictional, character-based pieces that deal with topics such as consensual and non-consensual sex, body image, genital mutilation and reproduction. It debuted in 1996.
The Dynamo Creative founders said they were vaguely familiar with the play but didn’t know much about it beyond the stark title. In a news release, they said they ordered the script and found the monologues to be “thought-provoking, funny, uncomfortable and poignant.”
They decided collectively that this show was worth “being comfortable with being uncomfortable.” They wanted to feel the liberty of speaking freely, openly and confidently about women’s sexuality.
The show has drawn criticism from social conservatives and even some feminists, and for its treatment of non-Western women. The play has evolved over the years in response to criticism and its writer said its goal is to end violence against girls and women.
“Vagina is not a dirty word,” Dynamo Creative said in a news release. “It’s a body part — an important body part. It should feel safe to talk about it — not shameful.”
Everyone is welcome to the play, they said.
“The show is not just for women to attend,” Peterson said. “It’s for men and women.”