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The New York Times named "The Vagina Monologues" one of "The 25 Best American Plays Since Angels In America"


Full list and feature at The New York Times:

Mamadi Doumbouya for The New York Times

The Vagina Monologues Eve Ensler, 1996

No recent hour of theater has had a greater impact worldwide.

Eve Ensler's solo show, a series of monologues linked by anatomy, has birthed its own theatrical and activist industry. As Ms. Ensler explains in the opening monologue, she conducted interviews with more than 200 women: “Older women, young women, married women, lesbians, single women, college professors, actors, corporate professionals, sex workers, African-American women, Asian-American women, Hispanic women, Native American women, Caucasian women, Jewish women.” Their words were then shaped into speeches.

You can quibble with the literary merits of “The Vagina Monologues,” its sexual politics, its essentialism.

But it’s hard to argue with its worldwide impact (performances in 140 countries, translations into 48 languages and counting), the money it’s raised, nor the starry array of actors who’ve performed it: Meryl Streep, Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg, Kate Winslet, Glenn Close, Salma Hayek and on and on like so many rolling orgasms. Here are the now-famous opening lines.



I bet you’re worried. I was worried. That’s why I began this piece. I was worried about vaginas. I was worried about what we think about vaginas, and even more worried that we don’t think about them. I was worried about my own vagina. It needed a context of other vaginas — a community, a culture of vaginas. There’s so much darkness and secrecy surrounding them — like the Bermuda Triangle. Nobody ever reports back from there.

1997 Obie for playwriting

Oct. 23, 1996

An excerpt from Eve Ensler's performance