I watched Vagina Monologues today. It’s a 3-day running play produced by Dulaang UP under the direction of Tony Mabesa. Vagina Monologues talks about women and our (coz I’m part of the population too) concerns and anything related to our vagina.
Talking about the vagina is an eyebrow-raising thing in our society. Even how it is called is somewhat either awkward, funny or embarrassing and thus vagina is not that easily mentioned or used. Vagina for once is somewhat like a medical instrument. Puke, pekpek, pinya, ari, flower, pussy, pussycat, bulaklak, pwerta, bilat, fekfek, lagusan, hole, pukingking, monay are other terms used to refer the woman’s sexual organ. There are a lot more. Different languages mean different translations. Even in the Philippines, where the dialect is almost a hundred, plus its jargon and gay lingo makes vagina an eligible entry to our Thesaurus.
So what are these vaginal issues? What concerns our vagina?
Some men disliked having sex with hair.
This monologue is done by Raye Baquirin whose character is a wife who’s husband requires her to shave off her pubic hair. She did it to please him but this made her uncomfortable and little so she didn’t do it the next time. This caused her husband to look for other women.
They had marriage therapy and this issue came out when his husband was asked and why he has concubines here and there. Their psychiatrist sided with her husband. Marriage is about giving, their therapist says. As a woman and a wife, she must give in to the request of her husband. Coming home, she gave her husband’s wants. Her husband shaves her off. And while doing it, he did not even bother to be careful. Blood runs from her vagina as wounds were made through the careless haircut.
They made love after the cut. While the pubic hairs from his husband genital area rub against her, she’s suffering in pain. It made her realize how important the hair in our genitals because it serves as a protection.
When you love something, love the whole of it. Do not choose the parts you want to love. The vagina goes with hair, so making love to a vagina is making love (also) to the hair.
The monologue is done by Sonia Valenciano who plays a 72 year old woman who has never looked into her “down there” because she has been a busy woman and looking at her “down there” will take her a day and gives her a back pain.
She attends a psychiatrist and accounts of her dates when she was in her teens. In one of her dates, she was invited by a gorgeous guy and while they were in his car, the guy kissed her. She was taken buy surprise and brought her excitement and soon she flooded, staining the car seats. She tried to wipe it off with her yellow dress but the stain became too obvious. The date was off and she found herself in front of her house. She never saw the guy again.
From then on, she kept on having bad dreams about her dates with handsome men but always ends up in a “big flood”, bringing away her friends and the guy she is dating.
The Vagina Workshop, as the title suggests, is a workshop helping women see their vagina. It was performed by Mailes Kanapi who’s character is a participant of the workshop.
A few of their activities includes drawing their vagina the way they know it and see their vaginas with a mirror at hand and one by one describe it as they saw it and what they feel about it. Once, they were asked if they ever had an orgasm. Only two of the participants raised and she’s not included but she experienced a lot of orgasms but it was all unplanned. But she has not experienced the orgasm for two years and this is the very reason why she attended the workshop.
Their last activity is finding the clitoris. In doing so, (of course, with the help of the powerful tool – the magic mirror) she became frantic because she can’t find hers. Their teacher noticed her pathetic state, asked her what’s wrong and laughed knowing about her student’s dilemma.
She brushed her face and said, “The clitoris is you.”
Little Coochie Snorcher that Could
This monologue is one of the best delivered. Actor wise, it's Frances Makil-Ignacio. I say, she’s a veteran when it comes to stage plays. She really puts her heart and soul into the character.
The character here is a woman who has a relationship with another woman. She had different encounters with her vagina as a child and this she shares down through memory lane.
When she was seven, her playmate Peter got angry at her and punched her in the vagina. When her mother found out, here’s what she said: Don’t let anybody touch nor let anything enter your coochie snorcher! But she did never let Peter touch her, she was punched there. From then on, she was very careful that nothing, as in nothing enters her coochie snorcher. She attempted to tape the holes of it just to protect the water to enter it when she bathes but it was never a success for they all the time fell off.
When she was nine, she was playing in her bed, bouncing up and down and accidentally, bumps her vagina in one of the bed post. She was driven to the hospital and her coochie snorcher was stitched.
In her tenth year, she was in her dad’s place for her birthday. She went up the attic to see herself in her new sando bra—a gift from her dad’s girlfriend. She didn’t notice that his father’s friend was at her back, pulled her shorts and panties, rushed his penis into her coochie snorcher. She tried to pull away but what can a 10-year old girl do. The next thing she new was there was a gun shot and blood was all over her and his dad’s friend. His dad shot his friend and she never saw her daddy again.
When she was sixteen, she admired a very beautiful neighbor. She was invited to enter her car and was asked if she like kissing boys. She said those were disgusting and then her neighbor kissed her. The experience was new to her but she liked it. She was invited by her neighbor to come to her apartment, she stayed there for the night – after getting permission from her mother. Her mom was too glad that their beautiful neighbor took “interest” in her.
From then on, she never liked men and continued having relationships with women.
Pagkat Nais Niya Itong Titigan
This monologue is of a woman who had a very good experience with a man and so is her vagina. Portrayed by Dolly Guttierez, she recounts her experience with Bert, an ordinary man but treats the vagina extraordinarily.
The character is scared of her vagina and thinks of it as ugly. To battle this thought, she thinks of soft velvet sofa or pillows in satin cases to vanish the thought of her vagina. So when she met the ordinary Bert, who “wants to see her”, she was terrified and wants Bert to do the lovemaking and be over with it. But Bert insisted of “seeing her”. And so Bert succeeded and Bert’s face changed from a look so ordinary to a face that’s hungry for what he is seeing. He said to her, “Ang ganda mo. Matapang pero sensual.” She was amazed of how Bert saw everything about her personality in just staring at her vagina. Did he really saw that in there? Since then, she began to love herself and her vagina more.
Aking Pwerta Aking Nayon
This monologue is about a Bosnian woman and their experiences during the war. This was done by Angie Ferro. It talks of how Bosnian women were painfully genital mutilated. Hers were done by 6 doctors. She recounts how they inserted cold metal into her vagina to get a part of it.
I wonder what satisfaction the doctors had while doing this.
My Angry Vagina
This is a monologue giving out the angst of a vagina and is played by Meryll Soriano (She’s really a small girl but with a beautiful face. Much prettier in person than what we see her in TV).
Her vagina’s angry with the way society is treating it, of how it is not taken cared of, why it is not being considered. Just like the people who make tampons. They never even bothered to lubricate it. Whose vagina wants some cotton stuck into it? Putting on tampons is an uncomfortable thing. This is what they say, I have not used one (hehehe!!! why should I when I’ll be pain free with sanitary pads?). Another angst is the thongs. Why is it that they want her vagina to be closed as possible? It’s meant to be as free as it is and not imprisoned and punished by a piece of thin cloth. Plus the fact that it goes in between your anus’ canal! Her vagina’s angry because they want it to smell like a dishwashing soap. Feminine wash are offered in the market. Smells of rose, berries, rain or the garden awaits our choice. Why can’t it smell like it’s suppose to?
A monologue of hatred but factual.
My Mother Slapped Me
This was done by the chorus so I guess this is a “monologue” (hehehe!). It is about the eagerness of women of having their menstruation. Some as early as 9, still unprepared, asked what a period is and had an answer of “punctuation used at the end of a statement.” Some had it celebrated by her family over dinner. Some, who’s late like 16 or 17 even, had questions of “Where is it? Where is it?” Some were fascinated of how it drops in a toilet bowl like red paint in water. Some were terrified when it is colored brown like shit and a lot more different experiences of a vagina when her period comes.
This is a monologue done by Meryll Soriano of a girl from Netherlands (picture her in a costume of Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu and Cameron Diaz in Charlie’s Angels I when they danced while selling cookies to a man just to scan the his iris.) who wants to form a new word for vagina. She invented the word cunt and wants to be acknowledge for it.
A Six Year Old Girl
This monologue is done in a Q&A format. It’s about how innocent a six year old thinks of her vagina. It was done by Monette Flores and Dolly Guttierez being the six year old girl.
Babaeng Mahilig Magpaligaya ng mga Puke
Another monologue elegantly delivered by Frances Makil-Ignacio, Babaeng Mahilig Magpaligaya ng mga Puke recounts of a woman whose mission (as she thinks) is to give other women pleasure or help them find pleasure.
She’s fascinated with the sounds produced when these pleasures are experienced. I’ll use Ungol, its translation in Filipino for the lack of term for it. The woman here is initially a corporate tax lawyer but she gave that up. According to her, unlike her new profession, corporate law has no props, no foreplay, no sexual conversation and most of all, no ungol.
I was There in the Room
I was There in the Room is a poem in English and Tagalog read right after the other. It accounts, the experience of a woman seeing her daughter giving birth to her daughter. She has seen the vagina opened, bruised, while a child stuck inside is rescued. The English and Tagalog poems were read by Sonia Valencia and Angie Ferro respectively.
Today’s the last play day. Good thing I got my ticket way ahead of time because when I arrived in Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero, the tickets sold are those reserved beforehand. The place was jam packed. They put bleachers at the back part of the theater. Aside from that, the sides of the stage (right, left and the back portion) were occupied by bleachers! To give you a picture of how full the house is, Lex Marcos, who’s been a lead character of a number of plays of Dulaang UP is in the bleachers on stage! He was not even given priority! Ebong (the accidental actor – this is how he describe his acting career) is also there and other Dulaang UP actors! There was no vacant seat for some people occupied the aisle.
Why is it that when a movie or a play where matters of sexuality are discussed, more people come to watch them?
I have been attending a number of productions of Dulaang UP and seldom does it happen that the house is full. As I could remember, this is the second time that all seats were taken. This also happened when Nick Joaquin’s Tatarin was staged and I would like to note that there was breasts exposure in that production. Even in films, the art-and-sexy-films (especially the Spanish ones), when showed at the UP Film Institute (it was then called Film Center or FC), tickets are sold out. I could remember when UP 49ers had the rerun of Carmen at UPFI with its posters saying these promotional lines like the most erotic Spanish film of the year or a WOMAN born to seduce MEN and a MAN ready to sacrifice everything for a WOMAN. These surely made tickets sell like peanuts and big bucks for 49ers.
So what made these people come and watch this kind of art? Is this because that the topics of these are of our interest but were failed to be casually discussed because these are taboos? Or is it that we want to know more of ourselves and watching them is knowing and learning because sexuality is a part of us?