The famous feminist play has been staged in 122 countries and translated into several dozen languages.
Finally I saw the Chinese version at China Media University on Monday evening in Beijing. I have laughed so much while watching a play. I never laughed so much when I watched some pretty funny stand-up comedies.
It wasn’t exactly the translation of Eve Ensler’s play but rather inspired by it. a couple of acts were faithful to the original, for example, a 74-year-old woman’s emotional discovering her clitoris. Most of the elements are based on the actor’s personal experiences, their first period, their first love and first nights and so on.
The funniest part was the traditional xiangsheng – comic dialogue in style about the different ways of moaning when reaching climax. You can only imagine how the more than hundred-strong audience all laughed their teeth out.
What made the show so entertaining and engaging was its interactive style. In the act about masturbation, the actress, dressed as a teacher, asked the audience to talk about their experiences. Some did speak frankly how they started it because of failed love, or driven by curiosity; other confessed they didn’t know.
Again, the play, the product of a feminist group called Bcome, shows the changing attitude towards sexuality in China. I also see it as the sign of the increasing feminist activism in China and perhaps the feminist movement is starting to happen in this most populous nation on earth.
Thanks to its sensitive nature, it has been shown in small theatres and universities.
The first The Vagina Monologue was launched by a feminist professor Ai Xiaoming from Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou back in 2003. There was a fairly successful show by another group in Shanghai in 2009. But it was called V Monologue – otherwise, it couldn’t get the venue.
I greatly enjoyed this show and felt encouraged by the increasing gender and rights awareness in China.
There’ll be two more shows on June 5 and 6. Don’t miss it.
writer, journalist, social commentator and public speaker