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

(page 2 of 4)

You don’t feel you’re preaching to the choir?

No, I don’t. We’re now doing “Vagina Monologues” in tiny towns in Alabama, villages in India, and performing it for kids from schools throughout the boroughs who normally don’t go to the theater at all. We don’t need to change everybody. All you need is 10% of the population to have a revolution. [More important] it’s activating those who already believe. Look, did I think 10 years ago that representative Lisa Brown and Senator Rebekah Warren would invite me to perform “Vagina Monologues” on the steps of the Michigan capital in Lansing? No. But we worked, and worked and worked. The world has changed, and we’ve been crucial to that change.

I gather you are half-Jewish?

This half-Jewish thing is so crazy. Would Hitler have said, “You’re half Jewish, get off the train?” No. He would have said, “We’re taking you with us.” It’s a strange thing: The only people who don’t think I’m Jewish are Jews.

How do you define being Jewish, and how does it inform your artistry?

For me it’s a cultural thing. I had a Jewish father, a Jewish family, and I had chicken liver with my aunt every Saturday. I grew up in a tradition where having ideas and contributing to the community and creating art that had an impact on the world mattered. That’s part of the Jewish tradition. The comedy that’s in me is very much part of Jewish theater history. When I look at my own heart as a social activist, there’s the spirit of Emma Goldman and Hannah Arendt and so many others.

Do you foresee a time when you’ll write a play that has a Jewish or Israeli protagonist?

It’s not on my agenda right now. Actually, I wrote a piece, “Here,” an allegory about Israel and Palestine that was done on British TV. It’s about a couple living in their house when another couple, who almost looks identical to them, arrives, convinced they’ve come home and it’s their house. It’s all about who owns what land and who got there first and who got the deed. I never say which couple is Israeli or Palestinian. The first time I was in Israel, I wondered how you could tell the Arabs from the Jews. The same was true when I was in Serbia and Croatia. The people who are closest, it seems to me, are killing each other the most.


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.