Eve Ensler, is the Tony Award winning playwright, performer, and activist.
Ensler has released several books including Insecure at Last, a political memoir in 2006 and co-edited A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant, and a Prayer, an anthology of writings about violence against women published in 2007. In 2010, I Am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World was released by Random House and made The New York Times Best Seller list. Her critically acclaimed memoir In the Body of the World a visionary memoir of separation and connection – to the body, the self, and the world was published by Metropolitan Books in 2013. In 2011 she was named one of Newsweek‘s “150 Women Who Changed the World” and The Guardian‘s “100 Most Influential Women.”
The global activist V-Day movement – which was founded by Ensler – has funded over 13,000 community-based anti-violence programs and safe houses in Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya and Iraq.
She initiated ONE BILLION RISING, which has run now for five years and is the largest mass action campaign against violence against women and girls. Annually, activists rise in 200 countries through dance and creative expression.
She is the author of The Vagina Monologues, In the Body of the World, The Treatment, Necessary Targets, Ladies, Lemonade, Extraordinary Measures, The Good Body, Emotional Creature and Avocado, which became part of The Fruit Trilogy, now playing as part of the Abingdon Theater’s 25th Anniversary season.
T2C had a chance to ask more about this play and about why Eve does the things she does.
T2C: Why did you write the Fruit Trilogy?
Eve Ensler: It was a process. Orginally I was commisioned by the West Yorkshire Playhouse in the UK to write a play as part of a series they were doing on refugees and immigrants, so I wrote “Avocado”. Women who are fleeing countries looking for safe harbor often experience multiple realms of hell, and I wanted to write something that would address both the oppression and women’s humor and resilience in the face of it. “Pomegranate” grew out of research I was doing on the Yazidi women who were captured by ISIS, and the dystopian state women were experiencing of commodification, objectificiation and violence. After the first two acts I wanted to write a piece that would then look at a woman who was coming into her body, which became “Coconut”. So the three pieces became a journey from disembodiment to embodiment.
T2C: These plays talk to women. What do you think women are missing?
Eve Ensler: Because of the violence being done to us, we have been forced out of our bodies. All this trauma has taken us out of our power and our life force.
T2C: What are women’s strengths?
Eve Ensler: What are not? Despite the fact that women have been deprived of value, freedom, equality, safety, education, opportunities, women are still what’s holding the world together.
T2C: What can we do to help other women?
Eve Ensler: We need community, sisterhood, unity. We need to put the most marginalized women at the forefront of our struggle and learn from them.
T2C: Theatre is a powerful tool, what do you hope people take away from this production?
Eve Ensler: I hope people will wake up to the invisible suffering of women as well as to the joy and ecstacy that live in our bodies.
T2C: You talk a lot about women not connecting with their bodies. Why do you think they don’t?
Eve Ensler: I think the goal of patriarchy and neo-liberalism is to get women out of their bodies whether its disdain for, or selling or commodifying our sexuality.
T2C: What issues are the most important for women today?
Eve Ensler: The right to live with dignity, safety, freedom and respect, and treating our Mother Earth the same.
T2C: Women used to be known as tomatoes or pears,but you don’t think of women any more with the word fruit. Why the title?
Eve Ensler: I leave that to the audience to figure out.
T2C: The lines are getting blurred in gender. How do you think this effects women?
Eve Ensler: Anytime we break out of binaries, the world is freer.
T2C: What would you like our audience to know about you?
Eve Ensler: That I believe that theatre is a place that makes revolution possible.
You can see Fruit Trilogy at the Lucile Lortel Theatre, 121 Christopher Street, until June 23rd.