There are two things you need to know about the upcoming production of “The Vagina Monologues,” Eve Ensler’s landmark political ruminations honoring female sexuality.
First, despite its taboo-shattering subject matter, the spoken monologues are often quite hilarious. And second, yes, guys can — and are encouraged to — attend.
It won’t be the first time this “important piece of political theater” has come to the Joplin metro area — both Missouri Southern and Pittsburg State University have produced the acclaimed play in the past.
But the show’s producer, Marilyn Marshall, said it’s “beyond time” it makes a reappearance in Joplin, primarily because the various subjects the show tackles are as relevant today as they were when it first premiered off-Broadway in 1996.
“There’s certainly some things that every woman can relate to or someone that she knows of that has been through some of these situations that are talked about in the monologues,” Marshall said. “We’re just excited to bring it here.”
Three Studio 124 performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at Blackthorn Pizza & Pub, 510 S. Joplin Ave.
Each of the monologues deals with an aspect of the feminine experience when it comes to sex — domestic violence, abuse, verbal abuse, body shaming, sexual assault, substance abuse as well as sex slavery. They touch on everything, Marshall said.
“I don’t want to give the impression that this is a dark show or that it will focus on (subjects like) sex slavery — that’s just one small piece,” she said. “Overall, it’s definitely a celebration of women and women’s relationships and and their bodies. And amidst all the monologues there is humor … tenderness and kindness, and there are goose bump moments — lots of them.”
In the end, “it’s just a mixture of some real life experiences that (Ensler) experienced or knew someone who’d experienced it. She’s a very stunning person.”
In this Briana Blair-directed production, cast members include Era Stone, Nikki Corcoran, Kaitlin Morrill, Makenna Coble, Sophie Stoebel, Thea Romo, K.C. Brockman, Rhonda Palmer, Andrea Provins, Stephanie Jackson, Flannery Provins, Alise Richins and Jarett Little.
“The ladies here have been working so hard at the rehearsals and doing incredibly well,” Marshall said.
All proceeds raised from the three shows will go directly to Joplin’s Lafayette House, a sanctuary for women and children who are victims of domestic violence.
It serves more than 1,300 people in Southwest Missouri.
“It’s so vital for everyone to hear (the play’s) message,” Marshall said. “It’s something that needs to be passed on and talked about, whether it’s over ladies having coffee or a glass of wine or whatever. The message is just that important.”
Donations for the Lafayette House will be accepted at the door.
Marilyn Marshall, one of four partners behind the new Studio 124 located in downtown Joplin, the new home of the Dream Theater Co., said they were hoping to host “The Vagina Monologues” at their 124 S. Main St. studio, but the show was moved to Blackthorn Pizza & Pub as final improvements to the building are made. Future productions and events for Studio 124’s 2020 season will be held at the new theater. They include:
• ‘80s decade dance, Feb. 29.
• “Mayhem in Mayville,” March 20-21, 27-28.
• Little Actors classes, begins April 7.
• Open House Saloon Show, Third Thursday in June.
• “And a Child Shall Lead,” Aug. 4-9.
• “Evil Dead, the Musical,” Oct. 2-3, 9-10.
• Monster’s Ball Masquerade, Oct. 23-24.
• Ghost tours, hosted by Historic Ghost Tours, to be determined.