Across all nations, all cultures, all kinds of artistic work, and all audiences, no matter where you are, there is one basic, essential fact that we all share: All of us have come from a vagina — except in Florida.
The Atlantic Theatres are currently producing Eve Ensler’s internationally renowned The Vagina Monologues. The play, now translated into 45 languages, is a series of monologues based on Ensler’s interviews with women about their views and experiences with sex, relationships, and violence against women. The production is often presented every February as part of V-Day, a global movement initiated by Ensler to stop violence against women and girls.
Well, it would be more accurate to say they were producing The Vagina Monologues. A woman called the theatre to complain that driving by the theatre and seeing the marquee she was “offended” when her niece (no age given) asked her what a vagina was (or is, as the case might be).
How does the theatre respond? What kind of bold stand to take? How will the producers lead the community in entertainment and enlightenment? Why they’ll change the name of the play! No longer will Floridians have to be shocked to see the word “vagina” in twelve-inch letters! The Atlantic Theatres is now presenting — live and for the first time anywhere in the world — The Hoo-Haa Monologues!
Honestly. The theatre has changed the billing of the play so no one else will be offended by the word “vagina.”
The story was first reported by News 4 in Jacksonville, Florida. (In the kind of irony you can’t make up: if you go to their website for this story you can click on the page’s advertiser to see women dancing — in their underwear.)
Where does “hoo-haa” come from? Apparently, it is children’s slang for “vagina.” At least that’s according to the second definition listed in the Urban Dictionary. (In another kind of irony you can’t make up: the first listing for the slang word is for telling “somebody of a good achievement or when trying to show off: Hey man, I got laid last night! HOO-HAA!”)
At least Thomas Bowdler was more creative. (You have to keep up on the history of censors.)
According to the theatre’s website:
It is not the intention of the Atlantic Theatres to offend anybody by hosting this event and we formally apologize to anyone that was upset when we advertised this on our marquee during the first week of February. We have since made changes to reflect the sensitive nature of this show’s title. If the new title on the marquee is still appalling, please call with suggestions.
Surely, we all can provide them some appropriate responses and recommendations.
- Bill Reichblum