Performing Arts: Theater
April 19, 2018
Known for publicly discussing topics generally sequestered to whispered conversations between girlfriends, Eve Ensler broadcasts her most private thoughts and actions to the world as a form of therapy. This format echoes a string of women who spoke out on behalf of women’s issues stretching from Sappho to Germaine Greer. Women’s’ deep despair and longings reverberate through ancient poetry and contemporary stories.

Originally, Eve Ensler made her mark in 1966 with the wildly popular “Vagina Monologues.” In her newest theatrical foray, In The Body Of The World Ensler delves into her uterine cancer diagnosis. Struck by this silent assassin, Ensler was not so silent about her safari in search of a remedy and comfort. Her descriptions of overcoming bad doctors, bad hospitals, and bad information, is a gritty albeit heavy-handed.

A diligent chronicle of the poor manner in which medical professionals inform patients of their disease and their options surface in all its messiness. Ensler braids her fury into an onslaught of derisive descriptors. It takes masterful research to organize the available therapeutic options, teams of doctors and facilities. Then comes the realization that after diligently following all recommended protocols, the cancer returns—so unfair.

Directed by the fine Diane Paulus, Ensler never falters in holding the stage; her personality easily stretches beyond the proscenium to the audience in the Manhattan Theater Club. However, this production does not establish and unified bond between the audience Ensler’s own anxieties, anger and righteous cries. In The Body of The World lasers in on Ensler’s own bitter frustrations lead her to an inevitable conclusion -- life is not fair unless you make it so.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis

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