Monday, June 30, 2008

Eve Ensler play explores women's body types

Over the weekend I saw The Players Theatre's limited run of Eve Ensler's "The Good Body," which made me think about my own struggles with having a "good body." The thought-provoking work was sculpted into a witty play taken directly from the pages of one of the "Vagina Monologues" author's latest books featuring interviews with real-life women.

Not only was the acting wonderful, making these characters all the more real on stage, but the message was strong, too — women, no matter how skinny, normal or unfit they may be — seem obsessed about their bodies. What was interesting were the ones who decided to embrace what others may see as imperfections.

I could relate to Eve's (played by Kelly Walker) perils with her mid-section and wanting to vaporize it. I've been there. It's still there as a matter of fact. Then there were the other characters, offering a range of perspectives: a young woman who embraces her full figure at a fat camp, another woman who has become her plastic surgeon/husband's dream of the perfect woman by constantly going under the knife, a woman who has such a love/hate relationship with her chest that it brings a moment of deep sorrow, an Afghan woman who literally risks her life eating ice cream.

There are some moments in the play that brings out the playwright's saucier side — probably reminiscent of the "Vagina Monologues." But since I haven't seen Ensler's earlier work, I can't compare the two.

I fell in love with the part in the "Good Body," when Eve travels to Africa (she goes all over the world in the play) and meets an African woman who tells her to think of herself as a tree. No two trees look exactly the same, and they aren't suppose to, she tells Eve. But both are still beautiful.

I tucked that poetic metaphor away in my mind to pull out the next time I start comparing myself to the stick-thin women in my favorite magazines and TV shows. Thanks Eve Ensler. — January Holmes

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