Eve Ensler's Jewish Dialogue

'Vagina Monologues' Author Discusses Drama and Faith

Brigitte Lacombe

By Simi Horwitz

Published December 11, 2012, issue of December 14, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

Describing Eve Ensler as a relentless enthusiast and dedicated feminist is accurate, yet doesn’t do her justice. Consider this: She is a Tony-winning playwright, performer, author, filmmaker and activist whose leadership on behalf of women has had a worldwide impact — from the Congo to Bosnia to American prisons. Her best-known piece, “The Vagina Monologues,” has been translated into more than 48 languages and performed in 140-plus countries. That in turn inspired Ensler to create V-Day, a global initiative to end violence against women. To date, it has generated more than $90 million.

Her current play, “Emotional Creature,” now running off-Broadway at the Pershing Square Signature Center, focuses on the daily experiences and private dreams of young women across the globe. A marriage of monologues, stories, songs and movement, the celebratory piece explores the link among all girls on their journey to adulthood.

The Forward’s Simi Horwitz talked to Ensler, who told her, “That link is the need to please others. Whatever culture, whatever country, girls are taught to please others as opposed to pleasing themselves.”

SIMI HORWITZ: What is your writing process?

EVE ENSLER: Listening. Contrary to what many people think, I do not do interviews or use a recorder. That’s not to say my plays don’t have the seeds of peoples’ stories in them. They do, but they are not testimony. They are original literary pieces, and they take a long time to write.

Which hat is more defining to you — theater artist or social activist?

I can’t say. It’s easier to be one or the other, but that’s not who I am. I’m happy to be this [amalgam]. Theater has an incredible capacity to move people to social change, to address issues, to inspire social revolution.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • “I don’t want to say, ‘Oh oh, I’m not Jewish,’ because when you say that, you sound like someone trying to get into a 1950s country club, “and I love the idea of being Jewish." Are you a fan of Seth Meyers?
  • "If you want my advice: more Palestinians, more checkpoints, just more reality." What do you think?
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.