va. gi. na.

That’s from the opening of The Vagina Monologues, which The Wife and I took in Saturday evening at City Theatre on the South Side. It was an exercise that underscored the whole premise of the piece — this isn’t something women are comfortable talking about, even to the point of being able to use the name.

“Va. Gi. Na. It sounds like a virus.”

The opening segment is actually helpful, because you become accustomed to the language — anatomically correct; politically, not so much — pretty quickly. And then you’re left to focus on the substance of the play, which details stories women told about their vaginas and the mysterious — to me, anyway — relationships women have with them.

Much of the play is hysterical — wait for the segment about the pissed-off vagina — and parts are absolutely gut-wrenching, as when we heard the feelings of Bosnian women who had been raped over and over during the war in their region. In between those extremes, you get an often blunt examination of the female “downtheres,” which was especially interesting as one of about a half-dozen men in attendance on Saturday.

I thought I handled myself well, even though I thought there would be a decent chance of being torn to pieces by outraged women upon the show’s completion. Actually, that’s an exaggeration — I wasn’t nearly as uncomfortable as the two guys who were seated at a table in the front row, center stage, seemed to be. I couldn’t see the face of one, but the other seemed to be desperately scanning the audience for other men in the room, in case he needed reinforcements when the unspeakable feminist horrors he was expecting actually occurred.

(This is actually a situation I enjoy a lot. After the show, we followed Cindy Closkey [Cynthia? Cyn? What’s it gonna be?] and several others up Carson to Tuscany Cafe for drinks and further silliness. Being the only guy out with a group of women? Almost never a bad thing in my book.)

Disclosure: We attended the show gratis, thanks to an invitation extended by the company to Pittsburgh bloggers to attend Saturday’s early show. I even have a code — which I’ll post later, because I don’t have access to it at the moment — you can use to score a discount to the show, which continues through mid-February.

Even though we enjoyed the freebie immensely, I think we would have gone to the show anyway. The performance, production and space — the Hamburg Studio — all were perfect. You’ve got about five weeks left — if you’ve always wondered what The Vagina Monologues was about, you won’t have a better opportunity than this to find out.

UPDATE, much later than I should be up Sunday night:

If you want that $5 per ticket discount, mention this top-secret code when you visit the box office or call (412) 431-2489 to order your tickets:

Blog.

Whew. Tough, I know. But don’t pass on this, kids — you’ll have a great night. And tell ’em Uncle Crappy sent you.

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