'The Leftover Monologues': China's love and dating scene laid out on stage

For many of today’s Chinese youth looking for a partner, love takes second place to parental pressure, moving up the social ladder and a heavy dose of fear drummed into women that they will end up as “leftover.” These aspects and others relating to love, dating and women’s status in the Middle Kingdom will be examined on Saturday in a China-inspired version of “The Vagina Monologues,” a Broadway hit exploring womanhood that got actresses voicing women’s most intimate feelings to packed theatres. In “The Leftover Monologues,” Chinese and foreign women—and a few men—will tell their own stories of searching for a partner, their observations of love and sex, and the panic aroused by the thought of becoming a “leftover woman”—defined by a women’s agency linked to the Communist Party as a single, urban female over 27.

I would really like if these monologues somehow forced a reappraisal of Chinese women in society … their value on the marriage market is always fluctuating depending on age and on looks and on color of skin and size of eyes.

Roseann Lake, an American journalist and author

"The Vagina Monologues" has been performed in Chinese universities but its first professional performance in Shanghai was stopped the day before it was to open in 2004, reportedly because of sensitive content, including the word "vagina." Its Chinese sister is an amateur production to be held at a central Beijing arts venue; 16 people are to deliver monologues. It is the brainchild of Roseann Lake, an American journalist who has just finished writing a book about love in China.