Korea’s ‘Vagina Monologues’ celebrates 10 years

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Nov 22, 2011 - 19:40
  • Updated : Nov 22, 2011 - 19:40

An actress fainted five minutes into its first show, and people tore down its posters and called it “absolutely crazy.”

The Korean adaptation of American playwright Eve Ensler’s feminist play, “The Vagina Monologues,” celebrates its 10th year anniversary this year. An episodic play featuring explicit explorations of women’s sexuality, its Korean adaptation had a rocky beginning in 2001.

“The first line of our show was, ‘Vagina!’ and our actress Kim Ji-sook was shocked by the cold response from the audience members during the first five minutes of the first show,” Producer Lee Ji-na, who has been directing the show for the past nine years, said during a talk show celebrating its anniversary at Chungmu Art Hall in Seoul, Monday. 
Actress Kim Yeo-jin speaks during a talk show celebrating the 10th year anniversary of the Korean adaptation of feminist play “The Vagina Monologues,” at Chungmu Art Hall, Seoul, Monday. (Musical Rang)

She is the producer of this year’s edition, and gave her long-time directing job to Lee Yoo-ri.

“So she eventually fainted and it became a news story. That was our first show.”

The play, which started off in 2001 as a radical play focusing on Ensler’s original script under the guidance of local feminist Lee Hye-kyung, has gone through many changes throughout the years. In 2009, the show took the form of a talk show, instead of its original series of monologues, starring Korea’s famous “Mamma Mia” trio ― Choi Jung-won, Jeon Soo-kyung and Lee Kyung-mi.

“My goal this year is to somehow mix the original style with the newly introduced talk show style,” said Lee Yoo-ri, the director for this year’s show.

Actress-activist Kim Yeo-jin, who has been vocal about various social issues, including the layoffs at Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction has been cast as one of the three performers for this year’s upcoming edition.

“I was contacted by producer Lee a few years ago,” Kim, who is currently pregnant, said during the talk show.

“I was afraid of saying the v-word out loud, and thought about how working on this piece would affect my baby. I concluded that it would be good for the baby, and decided to get on it. And the baby really likes it whenever I practice for the show ― it moves very actively.”

“The Vagina Monologues” runs from Dec. 2 to Jan. 29 of next year at Chungmu Art Hall in Seoul. For tickets and information, call (02) 1666-8662.

By Claire Lee (dyc@heraldcorp.com)