Pictured: The cast of EMOTIONAL CREATURE | J. Robert Schraeder/Spinning Tree Theatre.
by Marissa Carter
EMOTIONAL CREATURE: THE SECRET LIFE OF GIRLS AROUND THE WORLD is a compilation of monologues, songs and short scenes written by Eve Ensler, the writer of “The Vagina Monologues.”
There is no central story to this show. Instead, the performances demonstrate the struggles and pressures girls of all ages face around the world. Presented on platforms of varying heights with simple lighting and costumes, the production is raw and real, and stories are expressed in a deeply emotional way that no grand staging could enhance.
The cast consists of six beautiful women with very different body shapes, skin colors, and voices who take turns telling stories and having conversations that perfectly capture what it feels like to be a woman. The songs are beautifully performed and most of them serve as hopeful and empowering breaks between each scene.
Though some stories have a light-hearted tone, all address hard issues and questions that all girls will have to answer at some point in their lives. Topics cover everything from who it is okay to sit with at lunch to sexual slavery and human trafficking, yet each story is told in a way that is somehow inclusive enough to evoke empathy rather than pity from the audience.
It is a credit to the author that the show is empowering to women without being the slightest bit demeaning to men. None of the stories are preachy or meant to place blame. The feelings of the women involved are expressed in a simple and real way and it is left to the audience to determine what is right or wrong, or what can be done to change the situations presented. The lack of defensive triggers adds to the feelings of inclusivity and makes this a show that audience members of any gender can identify with and appreciate.
That is not to say that there are no triggers here – The entire performance is a trigger for any woman (or man, for that matter) who has ever struggled with self image, eating issues, friendships, relationships, identity, sexual issues, or the fear of what can happen if you dare to venture out into the street alone wearing the wrong outfit. I sat with tears in my eyes from beginning to end as one trigger after another was activated, and then somehow nurtured by the knowledge that if these feeling could be laid bare on stage this way that I was not alone in any of these thoughts or feelings. To be completely honest, this production was an experience that I am so glad I decided to share with my daughter. We spent the ride home discussing which of the pieces resonated the most with each of us and why. It was a beautiful experience, and one that I encourage all of you to share.
EMOTIONAL CREATURE: THE SECRET LIFE OF GIRLS AROUND THE WORLD presented by Spinning Tree Theatre is showing at Just Off Broadway Theatre through February 3, 2019. For tickets and information visit the Spinning Tree Theatre website.