The Vajayjay Monologues Causes a Cuntroversy

Lindsay Burns in The Vajayjay Monologues

A Cuntroversy

I am eating too much sugar these days.  Partly that’s because Calgary weather is heading into it’s carbo-loading cold and partly it’s because Eve Ensler is aware of my work.  I know it’s not nice to blame other people but Eve Ensler is causing me to throw heaping handfuls of licorice Goodies down my throat in a way that most closely resembles a goose being fattened for foie gras. The problem began on August 16th 2010 at the Edmonton Fringe Festival when I received an email from lawyers representing Eve Ensler demanding that I cease and desist all future performances of my play, The Vajayjay Monologues. It accused me of violating her copyright and distastefully trading off her play, The Vagina Monologues.

At first, I was thrilled. The Vajayjay Monologues is a conversation that I (and the characters I created) have with Eve Ensler, the creator of The Vagina Monologues.  It is an homage to her work and a reminder to women that we haven’t reached the promise land yet. I had been speaking to Eve for the past 3 years but until Aug 16th 2010, she had remained decidedly mute.

I haven’t been hiding from Eve.  In 2008 I took Vajayjay to the Winnipeg and New York Fringe festivals. Before heading down to the Big Apple I wrote Ms. Ensler at her website v-day.org. The producer of the festival said that she’d send word through friends of friends.  Volunteers at the box office of the Soho Playhouse were expressly informed that if Eve should walk into the lobby she was to be let in immediately at no charge. If Eve was ever going to become aware of me it should have been in New York. But it never happened.  I returned to Canada and gave up on that dream. So imagine my surprise at her finding me in Edmonton on a Monday night.

The next day I spent 7 hours writing 2 letters responding to her charges.  The first more closely resembled a mushy fan letter.  A friend who is a businesswoman helped me craft the second.  I informed Eve that my work is inspired by her play but in no way a derivation of The Vagina Monologues and that I was going to complete my run at the Fringe.  I also promised that once the show closed in Edmonton I would send her a DVD of my performance and a script so she could judge for herself.

I ran my letter by a copyright lawyer my friend knew.  He said to send it because she’d have to prove her case in a court of law and that because I have made less $10,000 doing this show for the past 3 years it would be unlikely that she would take it that far.  His final advice was, ‘Don’t cave in.’ So on August 19th I sent it off.    

After three more great shows, the Fringe ended and I came home to Calgary and settled into my non-theatre life of working in a library and raising a family. On Sep 3rd I sent off the promised package by express mail and as of Sep 11, I haven’t heard anything back. 

In my wildest dreams, Eve will love my piece, want to produce it on Broadway and introduce me to Oprah.  In my nightmares, she gets an injunction against me ever performing it, or anything else, ever again.  I spend my days wavering between these two possibilities while trying to calm my anxiety by eating vast quantities of candy-coated licorice.  If after seeing my show she still wants to shut down my show, the 2 performances at Femfest could be my last.  So I promise you I am going to make them good ones. I invite you to attend and then to go to my website potofjam.com to let me know where you stand in this ‘cuntroversy’. 

-Lindsay Burns

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2 Comments

  1. […] the article here: The Vajayjay Monologues Causes a Cuntroversy « Sarasvati … 2:01 pm | admin | No Comments […]

  2. embarrassed to say i’ve never seen “the vagina monologues”. this post increases exponentially my desire to see this piece. am so looking forward to it–if this has to be the last time, i’m sure it’ll go out with a bang…

    have you read david shields’ “reality hunger”? even if eve squashes you, chances are the play you’ll write about it will top even this one.

    you can’t lose!


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