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Vagina Monologues East Bay 2010 

When: Thu., Feb. 11, 8 p.m. 2010
Price: $10

Nobody could have anticipated the massive cultural sweep of Eve Ensler'sVagina Monologueswhen they premiered off-Broadway in 1996. Initially, the play was just a low-budget one-woman operation, in which Ensler relayed a series of narratives about sex, rape, love, female genital mutilation, menstruation, onanism, and the word "cunt." All of them loosely coalesced around the image of a woman's vagina, which, in this case, symbolized redemption and independence. The Vagina Monologues had enormous staying power, particularly after Ensler turned her play into a non-profit charity to benefit anti-violence groups. We see a spate of performances every year around Valentine's Day, to commemorate a two-month period known as international V-Day ("V" meaning "Until the violence stops."). EastBay groups will stage their own productions at La Peña Cultural Center (Feb. 12, 8 p.m., $10, 3105 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley) and Florence Schwimley Little Theater (1929 Allston Wy.,Berkeley, 7 p.m. through Feb. 12, $6-$12). Proceeds from this year's V-Day will go to victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. VDay.org

— Rachel Swan

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