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NOVEMBER 28-DECEMBER 20

In the beginning was the word, and the word was vagina. Vagina, vagina, vagina, vagina, vagina, vagina, vagina. Playwright-poet Eve Ensler says the word vagina 128 times each time she performs her Obie-award winning Vagina Monologues. “I say it because I want someday to feel comfortable saying it and not ashamed and guilty,” she says in a book of the same name. She speaks the word through characters based on interviews with more than 200 women: a 72-year-old who closed the door on her sexuality in 1953 after a humiliating date, a tax-lawyer-turned-dominatrix who loves to make women moan, and a Bosnian rape victim who dreams that “a dead animal is sewn in down there with thick black fishing line.” Woven through the monologues are vagina facts (for example, in 1593 a woman was convicted of being a witch because she had a clitoris, 500,000 women are raped in America every year) and answers to questions such as “What does a vagina smell like?” (“The woods…Somewhere between fish and lilacs…Me.”) Among the show’s multiple hilarious climaxes, Ensler mimicks the sounds of various women’s orgasms, including a local specialty, the “WASP moan”—she opens her mouth and no sounds come out. Wednesday-Friday at 8:30 p.m., Saturday 7 & 9:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2 & 8 p.m. (no show Dec. 5) at the Studio Theatre, 1333 P St. NW. $19.50-36.50. (202) 332-3300. (Jeannine Mjoseth)