This Tony Award winning playwright, performer and activist is best known for her play The Vagina Monologues. She visits the OFJCC to talk about her new book, In the Body of the World, a visionary memoir of separation and connection—to the body, the self and the world.
Eve Ensler has devoted her life to thinking about the female body—how to talk about it, how to protect and value it. Yet as she recounts in this inspiring and lyrical memoir, she spent much of her life disassociated from her own body—a disconnection first brought on by her father's battering and sexual abuse and her mother's remoteness, and by her later exploits with drugs, alcohol and promiscuous sex.
Her body was a machine to be mastered; she lived in her head, estranged from her physical self and from nature. "Because I did not, could not inhabit my body or the earth," she writes, "I could not feel or know their pain."
But Ensler is shocked out of her distance. On a trip to the Congo, she is shattered to encounter the horrific rape and violence inflicted on the women. Soon after, she is diagnosed with uterine cancer, and through months of harrowing treatment, she is forced to become first and foremost a body—pricked, punctured, cut, scanned. It is then that all distance is erased. As she connects her own illness to the devastation of the earth, her life force to the resilience of humanity, she is finally, fully—and gratefully—joined to the body of the world.
Unflinching, at once intensely physical and profoundly spiritual, Ensler's transformative work calls on us all at last to embody our elemental connection to and responsibility for the world.