Volume 74, Number 29 | November 24 - 30, 2004


Notebook


Eve Ensler’s ‘Good Body’ is great

By Wickham Boyle

Villager photo by Jennifer Bodrow

From left, Julia Stiles, Eve Ensler and Jane Fonda at Guastivno’s on E. 59th St. after debut of Ensler’s latest play.

This is the Eve Ensler interview that I am dying to write; this is the piece that is charging out of my pores. This is not about whether a male reviewer believes that Ensler looks fine or good or sexy or whatever. It is not about another reviewer who avows that her accents could use work, or a young writer whose bulimic friend was insulted. It is about how much I loved the play and feel moved by Ensler’s honesty.

In the beginning of her new play on Broadway, “The Good Body,” Ensler stands on stage and tells us that when she was young all she wanted to be was good. And although familial ties and societal mores have mitigated against her feeling that way, I can tell you she is the essence of good.

Ensler takes my emotions by the hand and gives them a warm welcome; she does this for many women worldwide. Ensler, who had a huge hit with “Vagina Monologues,” has raised more than $25 million with the VDAY Foundation that supports international safe houses for abused women. There are shelters in Afghanistan, Kenya, India, Iraq, India and even on the reservations in South Dakota.

Ensler is good because she is attempting honest loving relationships and doing charitable work as well. She unfolds her foibles in an intimate, honest way that allows us to see that we are all scared, flawed and fighting for similar goals. She is good because she doesn’t pull punches when it comes to where and when she fell down. Ensler is good, important, vital, perhaps brilliant, because when I sat my middle-aged backside in the seat at the Booth alongside my 20-year-old daughter with her glorious lithe body, we both cried at the women we want to be. We were both liberated by the words, the context and the brave freedom that Ensler illuminated onstage.

Reviews can be positive, negative; people can think you are chubby, indolent, highfalutin or irrelevant. But all of that doesn’t matter here; what matters to me is that I get to say Eve Ensler is good, she is very good — and it is only because she has been bad, naughty, irreverent, scared and uppity. All of that is woven together to make the very good body she offers us in life and onstage.

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