Volume 1 Number 2 – AMIRI BARAKA: REVALUATION AND APPRECIATION – Jan 2015
I Want My Vagina Back!
Jeanette W. Hill
Pamela Love (Book Author)
Portrayed by: JaQuitta Williams, Crystal Fox, Towanda Braxton, Nevaina Rhodes, Tanya Freeman, Dana Peebles and DeEtta West.
Directed by: Mia Kristin Smith
The 2014 Atlanta Black Theatre Festival may go down in history as the year of social commentary undertones. Several of the performances, while totally entertaining, presented an undercurrent of personal and social issues that resounded with many in the audience. As if the title, synopsis and the ‘No Men Allowed’ marketing for the stage presentation of I Want My Vagina Back!wasn’t enough to pique the interest of the curious, the line of four hundred plus women extending to the front door waiting to be admitted to the main stage theater had anyone passing by stopping to look and ask.
I Want My Vagina Back! tells the stories of every woman that we all know and maybe that we have been at one time or another. Women who waited or who weren’t allowed that choice to wait, women who wanted or wanted to be wanted, women who cheated (yes, we cheat too), women who faked it (you know what I mean), women who didn’t have to, women who were fooled and women who willingly played the fool.
Towanda Braxton breaks the ice by saying those things we are told it’s not polite to discuss. Things such as size, ability, roughness, timidity, etc. Her “no holds barred” opening set the tone for the rest of the discussions that would follow. JaQuitta Williams then portrayed the tried and true woman. The woman who ‘waited’ – a noticeable while – for the right man and didn’t understand why others didn’t because her life, sexually and in all other ways, reflected the virtues of waiting.
The incomparable DeEtta West brought the seasoned senior spin on the whole sex thing putting a little preaching in there while extolling how as mothers, sisters and friends, it is incumbent for us to have open, candid discussions with our daughters, sisters, and any young woman we can reach, on valuing their total and sexual selves. Actress Crystal Fox’s portrayal of a married woman who liked good sex – really liked it – at first, caused a few blushes and more than a few moans from the women in the audience. But as she went on to tell what happened when ‘liking’ it went beyond the boundaries of her marriage vows, it caused those same women in the audience to shed a few silent tears as she told of the never-ending price she had to pay for “great sex.”
Another young woman discussed how she developed her appetite for married men. She had decided after listening time and again to her mother, aunts and friends speak with disdain about their husbands’ dalliances with other women, spending their time and money on these women, that she would not join the ranks of the unhappy spouse, but instead just enjoy the benefits of being the other woman – for years.
With each successive monologue the audience of women envisions a Friday night ‘Girls Night Out’ with the girls sitting around the living room sipping on beverages of choice, disclaiming the calories that accompany the drinks and munchies. There are transparent discussions about a woman’s secret place and how we lie on it, for it and about it and also how we let it be used, viewed, ignored and sometimes abused. Each monologue uncovers how our choices on what we do with our vaginas, how we do it and whom we do it with can and often do alter women physically, emotionally, socially, psychologically and even financially.
I Want My Vagina Back! is a phenomenal stage piece. Adapted from the book of the same name by Dr. Pamela Love, this play is really a social and feminist movement. I predict that Dr. Pamela Love’s book and subsequent dramatic presentations and conversations will soon be seen nationwide.
Jeanette W. Hill
Playwright and founder of JWHill Productions