June 6, 2014

The Vagina Monologues, Eve Ensler’s classic paean to women and their genitalia, is always a bit of a feminist rally: part humor, part outrage. That spirit of celebration and defiance runs through Los Monólogos de la Vagina, the Spanish-language version of the show at the Westside Theater, where the ebullient Daphne Rubin-Vega is bringing an extraordinary warmth and vivacity to the proceedings. Staged by Jaime Matarredona, director of the Mexico City production that has been running since 2000, Los Monólogos has a look that’s familiar from other iterations of the show. Barefoot and dressed in black, the cast of three sits on tall chairs, performing with scripts in hand. But for Ms. Rubin-Vega, the chair seems almost a red herring: She sits, yes, but she is hardly at rest. Her smoky voice is a tonal wonder, conveying meaning that doesn’t need translation. She uses her physique the same way. Delivering a monologue about pubic hair, Ms. Rubin-Vega is full-body energy in motion, the chair hardly able to contain her tiny frame. As a woman searching for her clitoris in a vagina workshop, she shifts from shyness to passion to wonder to worry, her free arm flying, not even her toes still. It’s comic and sexy, joyous and sweet.