Not every playwright wants their work to start a movement. That’s where
Eve Ensler differs. When she wrote The Vagina Monologues in 1996, vagina wasn’t a word that was used during television interviews. The play has since spawned not only innumerable performances, it has launched the global action of V-Day, built the City of Joy — a center for women in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and raised $80 million for programs to end violence against women.
Therefore, it is not surprising that Ensler’s new theatrical endeavor, Emotional Creature , based on her best selling book of the same name, would take on issues faced by girls across the world. Ensler’s premise is that “every girl has a story,” and what is learned from a theatrical interpretation can be “applied to the community.”
At the Pershing Square Signature Center in Manhattan (in a limited engagement through January 13, 2013), I attended a matinee that had been designated as a mother-daughter event. Ensler was present for a talk back with the audience. She was joined by young women activist leaders and the top-notch cast.
The stagecraft is simple: a platform that extends beyond a semi-circle, which has three screens behind it. There is a slide show before the action begins. Aphorisms projected include, “My Dress Doesn’t Say Yes; Love Yourself; I Am Not a Sex Object.” During the production, the chosen images set the scene, location, and mood for the different pieces. Cornell-like boxes, with elements that might be a part of a young girl’s life, envelope the set. One construction had sneakers and jewelry in tandem with textiles and an African sculpture.