Ladies’ night in Beirut

Play has moved to larger venue to meet demand

A new play inspired by “The Vagina Monologues” is smashing taboos with Lebanese auds.

Lina Khoury‘s “Women’s Talk” has been playing to rave reviews and packed houses in Beirut’s Medina Theater since April 12. Originally slated for just five perfs, it’s been extended through the summer and moved to a larger venue to accommodate demand.

Khoury’s play, which features 12 monologues — three adapted from Eve Ensler‘s award-winning original — tackles touchy subjects like rape, domestic violence and sexual harassment. It also finds time to run through the various synonyms for “down there” — including local fave “coco.”

“Our society needs to talk about these issues,” says Khoury, who got the idea after seeing “Monologues” in Chicago in 2001. “We have a lot of problems as women with the society at large, with our families, our boyfriends, our husbands. We think it’s not allowed to talk about our personal issues because it’s shameful, but if we don’t start talking about them we’re still going to suffer,”

The 30-year old playwright notes that while inspired by Ensler’s original, “Talk” is a uniquely Lebanese production.

“It’s not the same play but the same style of play to look at our own problems.”

Khoury spent more than a year talking to dozens of women as research. It took her a another year and a half to clear the local censors.

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