Gallery – Goethe Institut
Saturday, July 26, 6:45 p.m.
They Say: The crimson wave! The period demystified. Point. . . Blank. . . Period! is an insightful view on a woman’s love/hate relationship with her period! Whether you’re a man or woman, PBP will have you saying, “Once a month is more than enough!”
Val’s Take: Director/cowriter/performer Tramaine Braithwaite knows that menstruation is a sticky subject that’s often left out of polite conversation and she opens the play by addressing that stigma. One woman dares to talk, proudly!, about her period as another hastily tries to change the subject. It’s clear that both sides of the conversation will be explored throughout the production: the awkwardness of the whole monthly ordeal (especially its pubescent inception) and the knowledge that the period is symbolic of both life on earth and womanhood. But as the two points of view are initially presented onstage: the pro-period argument is made with such over-the-top poetry as to immediately give on-the-fence audience members an sinking feeling: Surely the whole hour won’t be like this?
It’s not, although the flowery and somewhat stilted language that celebrates womanhood and its life-giving powers never entirely disappears. There’s a welcome, candid humor in the vignettes and one-on-one speeches. We see refreshingly familiar moments brought to stage with levity: the friend who never learned how to use a tampon, the girl who experiences her first period in an unfortunately public location and the boyfriend who dismissively attributes his girlfriend’s lack of sexual drive to her time of the month. Women will also experience familiar emotions come up in the early monologues as different women convey the wide-eyed surprise and anticipation of teenagers becoming women through this event. That said, the funniest monologue by far is the woman who starts and ends with a phrase every woman has said, “I fucking HATE my period!”
Although the play spares audiences the painful experience of dysmenorrhea, that’s about the only thing it spares. As the play heads into its second half, the monologues get more emotional and powerful. The women go from conversations about the annoyance of seeing their period to the anxiety of missing it and how they choose to deal with the consequences. The play also touches on the women who no longer receive their period, either due to early (or timely) menopause or due to hysterectomies. Indeed, the monologue from the woman who “gave birth” to fibroids but never to a child is one of the hardest to hear. It’s at this point in the play where it becomes apparent that everyone can benefit and appreciate the stories that are told throughout the production. Still, this is going to be an admittedly hard sell for anyone who is not in any hurry to see The Vagina Monologues.
See It If: You want to reclaim the monthly nuisance as a source of power and feel a renewed sense of pride.
Skip It If: The idea of dwelling on the subject of menstruation for thirty seconds, much less sixty-five minutes, makes you squeamish.