Ensler’s “‘Vagina Monologues’ crosses over with transgendered women
As a gay man, the word “vagina” can be very scary like galaxies never explored or a foreign food dish that was tried but didn’t agree with one’s digestive tract. So the use of the word dozens of times over the course of the hour is just a tad overwhelming.
In “Beautiful Daughters,” a documentary of the re-imagining of Eve Ensler’s wildly popular, “Vagina Monologues,” I gained an even greater respect for women, their pride, power and challenges. And by the end, I embraced my inner vagina.
For the one-time performance, Ensler modified her award-winning work by casting transgendered women and incorporating their experiences, pain and triumphs from their real lives. The result is far more poignant than just re-staging with the same content.
Spearheaded by Calpernia Addams (whose deeply moving story was featured in “Soldier’s Girl”), an ensemble is gathered from all over the country and all walks of life. Among them is Texan Leslie Townsend, who married after her surgery then quickly divorced. Townsend now deals with the loss while juggling her first successful career as a real estate agent.
The women featured range from pre-operative to post-op, but all are united by the power of their femininity. Throughout the documentary, we are treated to the collaborative effort of playwriting and the emotional journey it represents for everyone involved.
As mostly non-actors, it’s amazing to watch the readings. But it would’ve been better to show more footage of the actual performance. Sure, it looks easy when they’re holding the script in front of them, but digging deep and exposing their deepest feelings to a group of strangers is more interesting and far more courageous.
And if that’s not enough, it’s simply fun to watch Jane Fonda laughing at vagina jokes. Let’s see that on a straight network.
Feb. 11 at 8 p.m. on Logo
Part of Logo’s Real Momentum Series
HER MADGESTY IN ACTION
Ready for round two of the Madonna blitz? Complete with roller skates, a pimped-out van, that leotard and Farrah-esque hairdo, “Sorry,” her second video from “Confessions on a Dance Floor,” just hit the airwaves. Madonna’s videos are her best artistic contribution. And on Wednesday and Thursday, you can check out how she makes it all happen in a behind-the-scenes glimpse: “Madonna Makes a Video” airs Feb. 15 at 6 p.m. and Feb. 16 at 9 p.m. on MTV.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition of February 10, 2006.