Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Albuquerque/Santa Fe

The Vagina Monologues

The Adobe Theater
Review by Carole C. Sullivan

Also see Carole's review of The Women and Rob's review of Zombie Attack!

Holly Deuel Gilster, Gail Gillock Spidle,
Angela Littleton, Ninette S. Mordaunt,
and Heather Lovick-Tolley

Photo by John Hogan
The Vagina Monologues, by Eve Ensler, is a classic of feminist theatre. Originally produced in New York in 1996, the play is made up of personal monologues developed from interviews conducted by the author. The original production featured Ensler in all the monologues; the monologues deal with aspects of feminine experience, such as sex, sex work, body image, love, rape, menstruation, female genital mutilation, masturbation, birth, orgasm. Common names for the vagina are also explored. A recurring theme throughout the piece is the vagina as a tool of female empowerment, and the ultimate embodiment of individuality.

Over the past 24 years the play has been produced at many regional, college, and community theaters throughout the United States and abroad. It was made into an HBO special, and many famous actresses and leaders of the community have acted in the show. Productions of The Vagina Monologues are often used as fundraisers for women's causes. Quite often a new monologue is added to highlight a current issue affecting women around the world.

The play has been controversial from the beginning, with various feminist groups finding fault with differing aspects, and conservative groups condemning the whole enterprise. In 2006, Charles Isherwood of The New York Times called it "probably the most important piece of political theater of the last decade." Others have called it many other things.

The Adobe Theater production offers The Vagina Monologues almost as a piece of history. No new monologues have been added. The show is performed by four actresses, rotating from six who are part of this production under the direction of veteran Albuquerque actress/director/producer Leslee Richards.

The mounting is simple: four women in contrasting red tops and black pants sitting around a table with scripts and mugs sharing the monologues with the audience. Each actress steps up to a central podium to deliver a selected monologue. There is no preamble and little summary.

The production respects the original work and has a cast of skilled actresses bringing it to life. I saw the production with Holly Deuel Glister, Angela Littleton, Heather Lovick-Tolley and Gail Gillock Spindle, but I'm sure the show is equally effective with Bridget S. Dunne and Ninette S. Mordaunt. Some monologues are funny and others are difficult to listen to. Holly Deuel Gilster is particularly effective in "The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy." There is a sense of camaraderie and love among the cast members that is infectious.

I had thought that seeing the Vagina Monologues again might be redundant and old hat, but I found this production very moving and as relevant as ever.

The Adobe theatre has paired The Vagina Monologues with a companion offering of Clare Booth Luce's The Women. Seeing both of these plays on successive nights is an opportunity not to be missed. Both explore roles of women and illustrate the path of American feminism in the 20th century.

The Vagina Monologues runs through November 3, 2019, at The Adobe Theater, 9831 4th Street NW, Albuquerque NM. Performances are Saturday at 2:00 p.m., Sunday at 7:30 p.m. For tickets and information, visit or call 505-898 9222

Written by Eve Ensler
Directed by Leslee Richards

Cast: Bridget S. Dunne, Holly Deuel Gilster, Angela Littleton, Heather Lovick-Tolley, Ninette S. Mordaunt, Gail Gillock Spidle