EMOTIONAL CREATURE: The Secret Life of Girls Around The World
WRITTEN BY EVE ENSLER
DIRECTED BY JO BONNEY
6-16 AUGUST 2014
Tony award-winning playwright, Eve Ensler's Emotional Creature, directed by the Obie award winning Jo Bonney, will open at the Baxter Theatre in August 2014 following a season in Johannesburg. The original music has been composed by Naledi award winning and Fleur du Cap nominee Charl-Johan Lingenfelder, who will also be the musical director on the play, with choreography recreated by David Gouldie. Acclaimed South African actress, director, and producer Gina Shmukler will produce the show alongside V-Day’s Managing Director, Cecile Lipworth, who is from South Africa. The cast of South African actresses include Karabo Tshikube, Lara Lipschitz, Barileng Malibye, Vuyelwa Maluleke, Ratanang Mogotsi and Zakeeya Patel.
In 2011, playwright (The Vagina Monologues), author and activist, Eve Ensler chose Johannesburg, South Africa to workshop Emotional Creature, her newest play for youth. “I chose South Africa and this continent originally because Africa is the birthplace of humankind and the play births a new way for girls to bring their stories to the public and see themselves as the strong and ‘emotional creatures’ they were born to be,” says Ensler. “There is the greatest potential for the future in Africa and what happens in Africa will determine what happens to rest of the world. African girls can and will lead that future.”
The stories in Emotional Creature are inspired by girls around the globe and the theatrical piece is a celebration of the authentic voice inside every girl. Among the girls Ensler creates are an American who struggles with peer pressure in a suburban high school; an anorexic blogging as she eats less and less; a Masai girl from Kenya unwilling to endure female genital mutilation; a Congolese forced into sex slavery; a Chinese factory worker making Barbies; an Iranian student who is tricked into a nose job; a pregnant girl trying to decide if she should keep her baby and a young South African teen defiantly calling for an end to rape. Through rants, poetry, questions, and facts, we come to understand the universality of girls around the world: their resiliency, their wildness, their pain, their fears, their secrets, and their triumphs.
Through workshop productions in Johannesburg and Paris, and subsequent commercial runs in Berkeley, California and New York City Eve came to witness the impact the piece had on its audiences, the power of theatre and its ability to engage and transform. Emotional Creature is engaging, moving from laughter to tears, and giving audiences one of the most powerful theatrical experiences of a lifetime.
As V-Day Board member and actress Jane Fonda said when she saw it, it’s "Powerful, moving, funny, empowering, uplifting, thought provoking. It's everything you want theatre to be."
The impact was most vividly seen when teens from both public and private schools attended free morning performances and experienced a piece of theatre written for them. It was exhilarating. The morning shows would conclude with a talkback by the cast - teen-to-teen - where the issues that Emotional Creature raised were discussed. Many reported being moved by the monologues and learning, sometimes for the very first time, about the experiences of girls outside of their country. Many girls shared that the show and the subjects resonated for them on a personal level, from rape to their sexuality, to racism and economic injustice. Boys in particular voiced that for them it was the first time that they understood what their female peers were experiencing. School staff that saw Emotional Creature were incredibly moved by the piece and as a follow up invited cast members to visit their schools to speak at assemblies. Important discussions took place that often included young men. For example, the monologue “My Short Skirt” sparked heated discussion about how the clothes that women and girls wear are not an invitation for sexual advances from young men. Theatre clearly plays a vital role in promoting dialogue and giving voice to sensitive subjects.
V-Day’s work for the last 15 years across Africa, and most recently their global campaign, One Billion Rising, has provided an opportunity to see the power of young African women emerge when they are inspired, their issues taken seriously, when they are seen and supported in giving to determine their futures. From South Africa to the V-Day Safe House in Narok, Kenya to the City of Joy, in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo, V-Day has been proud to be the catalyst for girls 15 years and older to come into their own power.
The producers will again host an inspiring conversation while Eve is in South Africa in 2014. The conversation with Eve in Cape Town takes place on Saturday, 2 August at 4pm at the Baxter Flipside. This will be especially interesting for an audience of feminist thinkers, activists, youth from the university’s campuses and well known South African personalities. There is no cost for the Conversation event and advance booking is essential via firstname.lastname@example.org.
The show will run for a limited season from August 6th to 16th at the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town. Performances are at the Baxter Flipside at 11:00 daily for high schools and in the evenings at 18:30 for the general public. Shows on Saturdays are at 14:00 and 18:30. Tickets cost R75 per person. Block and school bookings can be made via Sharon at the Baxter on 021 6803962 or Sharon.email@example.com.
Press release provided by Allison Foat, DIVA PR, 0214627384 / firstname.lastname@example.org