WGBH: Get Cultured - Eve Ensler

Publication date: 
May 20, 2016
Jared Bowen
Bob: Next we turn to the latest play from Eve Ensler that’s playing at the A.R.T. Through May 29th
Jared Bowen: Bob, I’m so excited to talk to you about this because I just saw it last night and this is extraordinary. We know Eve Ensler from her first major breakout work The Vagina Monologues in which she really changed the dialogue about bodies in this culture.  She went on, she used that fame that celebrity to draw attention to the plight of women around the world. 
Well in her newest piece In the Body of the World which is based on her memoir, this is a one-woman show that she’s created, it’s directed by Diane Paulus at the A.R.T. and she tells her story over the last few years when she was diagnosed with uterine cancer. I mean, there is a horrible irony here that the woman who got people talking about their bodies had her’s ravaged.
She begins talking about how she was exiled from her body and she got lost.
Bob, from the first line of this piece until the sumptuous last image that we had in this show I was completely rapt.
This is a show in which she takes I think things that are so universal, how we suffer tragedy, and she processes it. She tries to figure out why it’s happened to her.
I think anybody who’s had some sort of major illness does this. And she does a lot of it through humor frankly and parts of it are extremely funny but parts of it are also terribly harrowing and she’s such an amazing performer on the stage. She’s just ridiculously captivating.
Bob: Is this a one-woman show?
JB: It’s a one-woman show where she’s taking you through this and really reconciling what is happening to her.
And one of the lines, I have to tell you, just to give you a taste that gave me a—that made me really appreciate the kind of writer she is. She’s talking to her son toward the end of the piece and she says, “Maybe the high tide came when we weren’t looking and took our canoe out to sea"
You know, I’m just getting choked up thinking about it because it’s such a poignant way to look at what happened, of course she’s very healthy now.
I did have a chance to speak with her recently and I asked her about what it is like to get on stage and relive all of this as she does…
Eve: "Anytime we can puncture the denial, anytime we can puncture silence which is enclosing people in self-hatred, in loneliness, in isolation, where they’re not getting the right information, where had they had a conversation they might have lived, had they had not a conversation they might not have killed themselves, had they had not that conversation they might not have been doing destructive things, I feel good about it. And sometimes it’s hard, sometimes people don’t want me to be talking about the things I’m talking about.”
Bob: Oh that’s for sure [laughter]
JB: Well, we should be very grateful that she is.
Bob: Wow, okay. That’s at the A.R.T., the newest work by Eve Ensler.

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