By Negi Esfandiari,Teen Council member
“I won’t keep you waiting,” I said with a grin, “here she is: Eve Ensler!” She thanked me and gave me a kiss on the cheek and a hug. I was overjoyed -- was this really happening? It blew my mind that I was sitting in the same room as this incredible and inspiring woman listening to her wisdom and connecting with other teens from all over the Bay Area.
I had the honor of introducing the incredible Eve Ensler for a special Emotional Creature workshop just before our Teen Night. After sharing the genesis of this play, Eve asked us to form groups and create our own emotional creature. The outcomes were surprising. One group created a creature called Septipus, a seven-person wheel formation with each person portraying a different emotion. In contrast, my group had a more abstract creature that was vaguely based on a dragon that roared and also made gorilla sounds. After the exercise, Eve talked a lot about how girls all over the world feel pressured to please.
As we wrapped up, at Eve’s direction we paired with one new person in the room. Together we shared something we did only to please other people and vowed to stop doing that thing. This stranger then became the keeper of our promise to stop the cycle of pleasing. To conclude the workshop, Eve started a fabulous dance party, which resulted in the discovery of many talented on-the-spot choreographers.
When seeing the play, I reflected on the journey Eve had experienced with its development. It reminded me of Eve’s work on the City of Joy in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is a special facility for survivors of sexual violence. In her own article Women Left for Dead—and the Man Who’s Saving Them, Eve describes how the women of the City of Joy used dance to help with their trauma, and portrays how beautiful it is to watch women who have gone through such atrocities dance up mountains.
The show closed with a musical rendition of the monologue Emotional Creature, and an awesome bow involving a dance circle. The joyful bow definitely encapsulated that strength of girls and left each of us with a beautiful sentiment to hold in our hearts. I left the theatre feeling the energy of the whole group rising. It was a feeling of empowerment!
Thank you, Eve.