Eve Ensler's groundbreaking show, The Vagina Monologues is a series of sly, lyrical, incisive first-person vignettes, most of them hilarious, some heartbreaking, all of them illuminating women's lives.
It was on Eve's first national tour that The Vagina Monologues turned from a play into a crusade. "So many women came up to talk to me about having been beaten and raped and incested that I started to feel I was going to have a breakdown," Ensler says. I made a decision that I was going to figure out my purpose, my mission. And one day the answer rose up: 'Stop. Violence. Toward. Women.' From that moment on, my life has been completely and utterly clear."
In 1997, Ensler gathered a group of friends and asked them to help her figure out a way to use The Vagina Monologues to end violence toward women. "And we came up with V-Day: Vagina Day, anti-Violence Day, Victory Day," Ensler says. "We invited all these great women to come, and they agreed. Now it's more than a show, it's a campaign."
Ensler's future plans are huge. V-Day 2001, on February 10, will be an all-day, all-night affair at New York's Madison Square Garden. New international productions of the show are set to open this year; it has already been performed in more than a dozen countries in Africa, the Middle East, Europe, South America, and Asia. Ensler expects to premiere her next one-woman play, The Good Body, in the fall of 2001. "For four months I interviewed women in 14 countries about how they mutilate, fix, and transform their bodies in order to fit in with their cultures," Ensler says. "I'm really interested in what women think is beautiful, what part of their bodies they don't like, and why."
Check out www.vday.org and learn more about Eve Ensler and upcoming V-Day events.
From the January 2001 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
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