Tonight, my friend and I went to see Eve Ensler’s monologue play In the Body of the World. I was eager to see it, especially after having read the original play that made her famous (Vagina Monologues) and seeing it performed by a Wellesley cast during my first year in college.
The play is a monologue of Ensler walking us through the brutality she witnessed over women in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The prolonged war over copper, gold, and coltan—minerals used in computers and cell phones—has claimed eight million lives and led to the rape and torture of hundreds of thousands of women. Ensler’s philanthropic organization, V-Day, was beginning to build an urgently needed women’s center there when she was diagnosed with uterine cancer. In a series of medical nightmares, she sustains the same harrowing wounds as Congolese women who were gang-raped and is flooded by memories of her father’s sexual assaults. She feels herself gradually being removed from her own body and being separated from it. She aligns her body with the earth and pairs her cancer with the pillaging of the Congo and BP’s poisoning of the Gulf of Mexico. She illustrates her healing through her emotions and courage. Ensler harnesses all that she lost and learned to articulate the essence of life: “The only salvation is kindness.”
This was my friend’s first time joining me for a theater show. I wasn’t quite sure if this would be too intense for her first time, but she actually really enjoyed it and found it very profound, and wants to come to more shows with me.