yoni sisters · Ages 16+ · United States of America

Content Warning world premiere
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June 20, 2023 certified reviewer

What I liked

The direction was superb. The honesty behind these women’s stories would’ve already carried the crux of the story, but the play manages to fantasize and dramatize these events through great interpretive acting and costume design. What could easily have overproduced the delivery of these very real stories heightened the method in which they were told without seemingly erasing the accuracy behind what’s being told.

What I didn't like

I virtually found no flaws that were notable enough to say here.

My overall impression

Yoni Ki Kahaniya isn’t just a deeply contemporary and educational experience that perfectly delivers everything I want from a Fringe play, it is essential viewing to artists and academics.

As a writer who ponders deeply on overlooked sources behind societal issues, notably gender and the censorship of female sexual experiences, I felt a range of heavy emotions on the subject matter and the gall of these performers to unite and share these commercially unviable stories. I imagine for most audiences that the moment you first hear the title your first instinct is to laugh and expect an adult parody full of vagina puns but the revelation of the story is a deconstruction of how tragically problematic that instinct is. The fact of the matter is that discussion of a vagina has been normalized as a taboo topic and set with expectations for laughter rather than the immense broad range of experiences it is responsible for.

And this isn’t to say that the story is subverting itself from being a comedy, quite the opposite. The direction, the performers, the costume design, and the narratives are charming and hilarious in the right places. Yoni Ki Kanhaniya explores the vagina in this discomforting, TMI experiences not to laugh at a taboo topic but instead revel in this fundamental human experience.

A quote from Cesar A. Cruz comes to mind whenever I see stories like these: "Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.” And in this case, I could not think of a more comforting, liberating way for these women to discuss this terrible problem. To have suffered the brunt of this societal and cultural norm, only laugh and dance while teaching an audience about sex education that they unrightfully had to learn themselves.

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