In The Body of the World
Written by and starring: Eve Ensler
Produced: Manhattan Theatre Club
Venue: NY City Center
Attended on March 13, 2018
Why Did I Go?
My friend Hannah texted me to ask if I wanted to check out an off-broadway play produced by Manhattan Theatre Club. I hadn't heard of the piece, but I like MTC. Once I did a quick google search I was interested.
I'm SO glad we went.
What's it about?
Violence. War. Sexual violence. Destruction of the earth's natural resources. Cancer.
The play is the memoir of a woman's cancer diagnosis received while working in an area ravaged by war in the Dominican Republic of the Congo.
But I swear- it's funny! Keep in mind that this one-woman show is written by Eve Ensler, activist, playwright, and creator of The Vagina Monologues. If anyone can land jokes while communicating these topics with the respect and seriousness they command, it's Eve Ensler.
Is it good?
It's powerful. Combining humor and heartbreak, Ensler's performance lands an emotional punch. She begins the show retelling tragic stories of violence faced by women she met while working in the DRC. The horrifying accounts of rape and brutality hook the audience in immediately.
Ensler's performance was uplifting and empowering. Based on the impact she was able to have on her audience in 80 minutes, I can only imagine the work she accomplished with City of Joy, a leadership community for women she founded and references throughout the show.
I really appreciated the dynamic lighting design, which experimented with turning the house lights on and off during the performance. This was a bold choice, and I felt it was effective in heightening a sense of community among the audience.
Who would like it?
Anyone with an interest in women's issues or public health will feel like this play is a rallying cry. It's a perfect show for the #metoo and Time's Up era. There were also several wonderfully pointed jokes aimed at our current presidential administration.
Typical NYC theater-goers will enjoy the piece. It's produced by MTC and directed by Diane Paulus. Pretty hard to go wrong with that combo.
If you don't attend theater in search of an emotional experience.... maybe... stay home...
Which celebrity was in the audience?
Funny you should ask. My friend and I got tipped off that hogwarts-scholar Emma Watson would be at the performance. It's not hard to imagine her having a genuine interest in this play because of her work as a humanitarian and actress. At the end of the show Eve Ensler invited the audience to come up on stage and walk through the set. Who did I end up walking directly behind? Emma. Watson.
Thanks for a quintessential NYC moment, Emma, you made this Harry Potter geek's night. And thanks for the show, Eve, along with the rest of your work. I left feeling engaged and inspired.