His Feminine Side
GLYNN WASHINGTON, HOST:
Welcome back to SNAP JUDGMENT, from PRX and NPR, the "Second Skin" episode. My name is Glynn Washington. And it has been far, far too long since we've had this guy on this show. Oh yes, SNAP favorite Josh Healy returns. So take the best seat in the house 'cause he's about to take the Snap LIVE! stage. Get ready.
(SOUNDBITE OF RADIO SHOW, "SNAP LIVE!")
WASHINGTON: This guy is a storyteller's storyteller. And I say that because you never know where he's going to go. Please put your hands together. He was with us on our very first episode. Mr. Josh Healy.
JOSH HEALEY: When I was in high school, I was co-president of my school's drama club, and I loved it. I loved the costumes. I loved all 11 people who came to our shows.
HEALEY: And most of all, I loved my drama club co-president Sophia Finegold (ph). Oh Sophia Finegold - half Jewish, half Puerto Rican. She was the Jewyorican queen of my heart. Sophia was brilliant, so brilliant she spent most our senior year taking extra classes over at the local university. And she hung out a lot at the campus women's center there and came back to school one day wearing this T-shirt that read - this is what a feminist looks like. And I thought, wow, feminists look good.
Now Sophia and I, we had to pick a show for our drama club's annual spring play. And she told me she had this really exciting idea. She said, Josh, there's this show. It's blowing up at all the colleges around the country. I really think we should do it. It's called "The Vagina Monologues." I said, what? What show do you want to do at our high school senior play? She said, Josh, it's a great show. You're going to love it. It's all about celebrating women's voices, our bodies, our power.
Now normally, it's an all-female cast. But we're not going to do with the normal way. I said, we're not? She said, no. Josh, we are going to do the first ever coed "Vagina Monologues." And I've got the perfect role for you. It's called "My Angry Vagina."
HEALEY: I said whoa, Sophia. That sounds like a pretty major role. Not sure I've, you know, got what it takes. She said, if any guy can do it, Josh, you can. And I wasn't sure if I was supposed to take that as a compliment, but Sophia Finegold was smiling at me so I was like, of course, of course, of course, of course I'll do it. I mean, anything for the drama club. But in the back of my head, somewhere, I was like, could I really pull this off? "My Angry Vagina." I was going to have to do some research. So I went right to the record store and bought every Ani DiFranco album I could.
HEALEY: Listened to them all weekend long - rocking that Ani. And when I came into the theater for the first day of rehearsal, I saw the rest of the cast - four girls, and four very excited, totally confused guys, each of us with our own monologue on a different issue. "A Girl's First Period," "A Woman Giving birth," "A Woman Being Raped" and, of course, my monologue, which was a rant against the oppression of tampons and douches and every OB/GYN tool that could really piss a woman off or so I was learning. This was definitely going to be an educational experience.
But there were some people, though, who did not see it quite that way like, every guy on my soccer team. Who, every day at practice, would ask me questions like, hey, Josh, hey, hey, hey, Josh, how's that play going? You get fitted for your panties yet?
HEALEY: No. Meanwhile, Sophia's friends, her own friends, the college feminists, they weren't too happy either. This one woman came by rehearsal to tell us, what is this? This play is about women speaking in our voices, which seemed like a decent point to me. But then Sophia said, hey, if we want to have good men later on, then we need to have good boys now, which also seemed like a pretty good point, especially when she looked over in my direction and winked. So the show was on. And buzz was building, and tickets were almost sold out. And then one day, the rest of the cast called me and Sophia in for a meeting.
They said, we need to talk. And this one girl said, look, guys, we've been talking a little bit, and maybe those college girls were right. I mean, this coed idea is fun and all, but these are some serious women's issues. We should be the ones talking on them. Sophia, she did not like anyone questioning her vision. She said - she was furious - this is how we're going to do the show, right, Josh? And she looked over at me. And everybody looked at me. And I looked over at Sophia, then walked over and joined the rest of the cast. Sophia didn't say a word.
She just stormed off. Until one month later, one month to the day later, I walked back into the theater for the big premiere. And the place was packed. Even the soccer team was there. The lights went down. The curtain went up. And when the first performer finished her monologue, every girl in the crowd was on her feet cheering. Every guy in the crowd was sitting in his seat fidgeting uncomfortably. Every parent in the crowd was wishing we had done "Hamlet" again.
HEALEY: And then came the monologue I'd been waiting for - the one I knew all the lines to. And she walks slowly to the middle of the stage. And before she even said a word, she just looked out into the audience. And in that look, in that one look she gave me, I saw more than just anger. I saw her strength. I saw her conviction. I saw a fierce, female power that I could only imagine. And I realized that was my co-president up there.
That was her role up there on the stage, mine here in the audience. And it was all leading up to this. And Sophia Finegold took a step forward and said in the loudest, proudest voice I'd ever heard my vagina, it's angry. It's pissed off. My vagina, it's furious, and it needs to talk.
WASHINGTON: Josh Healy from Snap LIVE! at the Nokia Theater at L.A. LIVE, in front of the big lights of Los Angeles, in conjunction with our station partner in KPCC in LA. The music for that piece was written and performed by Alex Mandel and the Snap Judgment Players, David Brandt and Tim Frick. We'll have links to the world that is Josh Healy on our website snapjudgment.org.
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