When I heard that a small theater in Hollywood was putting on the play “The Penis Monologues,” I had to go. Having read the book “The Vagina Monologues” by Eve Ensler, which was turned into a play produced around the country and at GCC last spring, and seeing clips of the HBO special performed by her as well, I was excited to see a group of men take on a male rendition of the play, and just a wee bit nervous. No pun intended.
But sitting in the theater I wondered, was the play supposed to be funny? Was it going to be a spin-off of the original play? Or would it be merely the same premise of “The Vagina Monologues” substituted with men and the struggles they face in having a penis? In fact, it was just that.
The story is simple: three men sit on stage and discuss their penises. The good times, the bad times, the weird times – it all comes out.
In the program, Willard Manus, the playwright, plainly states that his original intention was to do a satirical takeoff of “The Vagina Monologues.”
But after giving it some thought, he realized that men are not alone when it comes to concerns about their personals, and that they too have had serious issues concerning them and what it means to be a man.
Issues such as: rape, infidelity and circumcision, to name a few. The actors do actually delve into serious subjects that concern men today.
The show was very funny though, and with such heavy subjects, who wouldn’t make light of them at some point?
They brought up pet names for their penises, and talked jokingly about their lives as teenage boys along with what sex really meant to them.
The show was directed by Louis Fantasia and had a cast of three well known actors. In no particular order, the cast included John DiFusco, Leon Morenzie and John Aniston
“Rehearsing the show you don’t really know how it’s going to turn out,” said Aniston. “You wonder if the audience will laugh, or if they’re even get it at all.”
The audience did get it, and the play was well received.
The theater was small, probably seating about 50 people, but that made the play even more intimate.
At one point the three guys conducted a mock talk show and came out to the audience and answered some of the women’s biggest questions.
But beyond the jokes and the embarrassment there was no doubt that the audience was watching more than just a play; they were watching a group of actors giving a look into the secret lives of men and what it’s like to be one.
So for those brave enough to tackle even the most taboo issues regarding males and their “privates,” “The Penis Monologues” is now playing at The Jewel Box Theater Center at 448 S. Hill St. in Hollywood. For ticket and show information contact (213) 892-8906.