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Stellar Cast Brings to Life the Girls of Emotional Creature

07/14/2014

Eve Ensler has made a name for herself as an activist who uses the dynamic space of a stage to get people talking. Her play “The Vagina Monologues” shattered taboos and ignited a global movement to end violence against women and girls, V-Day. Her latest play, another compelling theatrical experience, “Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around The World”, celebrates the authentic voice inside every girl and it too is a vehicle to empower girls and inspire activism. “Emotional Creature” will be staged in Johannesburg this month, and in Cape Town in August.

Through rants, poetry, questions, and facts, the Tony Award-winning playwright brings to the stage an understanding of the universality of girls around the world: their resiliency, their wildness, their pain, their fears, their secrets, and their triumphs.

Among the girls Ensler creates are an American who struggles with peer pressure in a suburban high school; an anorexic blogging as she eats less and less; a Masai girl from Kenya unwilling to endure female genital mutilation; a Congolese forced into sex slavery; a Chinese factory worker making Barbies; an Iranian student who is tricked into a nose job; a pregnant girl trying to decide if she should keep her baby and a young South African teen defiantly calling for an end to rape. The play is engaging, moving from laughter to tears, and giving audience’s one of the most powerful theatrical experiences of a lifetime.

“Emotional Creature” was shown to young audiences in South Africa, when it was workshopped here in 2011, followed by runs in Paris, Berkeley and New York City, and has had profound responses. Many girls shared that the show and the subjects resonated for them on a personal level, from rape to their sexuality, to racism and economic injustice. Boys said that for them it was the first time that they understood what their female peers were experiencing.

At the helm of the show is Obie award-winning director Jo Bonny and South African, Naledi Award-winning composer Charl-Johan Lingenfelder, whose original music runs throughout the show. Acclaimed South African actress, director, and producer Gina Shmukler will produce the show alongside V-Day’s managing director, Cecile Lipworth, who is also from South Africa. A cast of local actresses, all in their 20s and all fierce activists, has been chosen to perform. They are: Karabo Tshikube, Lara Lipschitz, Barileng Malibye, Vuyelwa Maluleke, Ratanang Mogotsi and Zakeeya Patel.

Ratanang Mogotsi (20) is a member of V-Girls (SA) a global network of young, female activists empowering themselves and one another to change the world, one girl at a time. Ratanang was a member of the original cast when it was workshopped in Johannesburg in 2011.

Activist and actor Karabo Tshikube (22) is a fierce advocate for women's rights. Tshikube is also a V-Girl and she too was part of “Emotional Creature” when it ran in Johannesburg in 2011. In 2014 she also became a youth co-ordinator for the One Billion Rising youth movement.

Barileng Thato Malebye (25) is involved in educating young people about drama and the theatre industry through the Rare Arts Productions organisation. She is also passionate about breaking the stigma attached to mental health disorders and in March took part in the Festival of Mental Awareness held at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Performance poet Vuyelwa Maluleke (24) uses poetry and the spoken word to highlight issues surrounding women in South Africa, and is currently in the process of publishing a poetry chapbook with the University of Nebraska.

Lara Adine Lipschitz (26), who writes, produces and acts in a web series called “Chin Up”, uses the platform to feature the issues faced by female actors in South Africa.

Zakeeya Patel (26) is interested in empowering women through creating female focused work; work that is created, written and produced by females. Besides appearing in e.tv’s new season of “Mzansi Love”, Patel is also writing a new show about four girls living in Johannesburg.

In addition to the shows UJ Arts Centre and the Baxter Theatre will host “Eve in conversation”. The conversation in Johannesburg will take place on Sunday, 20 July at 6pm and in Cape Town on Saturday, 2 August at 4pm.

“Emotional Creature” will open 18 July at the University of Johannesburg’s Art Centre and run until 30 July. It will have a 10-day run from 6 to 16 August at the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town.

About Eve Ensler and V-Day

Eve Ensler is a Tony award winning playwright, performer and activist. She is the author of international phenomenon, The Vagina Monologues, which won an Obie and has been published in 48 languages and performed in over 140 countries. Eve wrote the New York Times Bestseller, I Am An Emotional Creature: The Secret Life Of Girls Around The World. She then adapted it as a play which ran successfully in South Africa, Paris, Berkeley and Off-Broadway. She is the founder of V-Day, the global movement to end violence against women and girls, which has raised over 100 million dollars for grassroots organizations around the world. On V-Day’s 15th Anniversary, it launched it's most ambitious campaign One Billion Rising which inspired one billion people in 207 countries to Strike Dance and Rise on Feb 14, 2013 for the freedom, safety and equality of women. With the women of Congo, V-Day opened and supports City of Joy In Bukavu, Congo, a revolutionary center where survivors of gender violence Turn Their Pain to Power. Eve starred in the HBO version of The Vagina Monologues. Her play Here was filmed live by Sky Television in London, UK. She co-produced the documentary What I Want My Words to You which won the Freedom of Expression Award at Sundance. Her other plays include Necessary Targets, The Treatment and The Good Body, which she performed on Broadway, followed by a national tour. In 2006, Eve released her book, Insecure At Last: A Political Memoir, and co-edited A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and a Prayer. Her newest critically acclaimed memoir In The Body of the World was just published by Holt.

V-Day is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls that raises funds and awareness through benefit productions of Playwright/Founder Eve Ensler’s award winning play The Vagina Monologues and other artistic works. The V-Day movement has raised over $100 million; educated millions about the issue of violence against women and the efforts to end it; crafted international educational, media and PSA campaigns; reopened shelters; and funded over 13,000 community-based anti-violence programs and safe houses in Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Kenya, South Dakota, Egypt, and Iraq. V-Day has received numerous acknowledgements and awards and is, one of the Top-Rated organizations on both Charity Navigator and Guidestar. V-Day’s most recent global campaign, ONE BILLION RISING, galvanized over one billion women and men on a global day of action towards ending violence against women and girls.

V-Day is a remarkable example of transforming theatrical success into an effort to truly change people’s lives worldwide.

For more information about Eve Ensler, V-Day and V-Girls, please visit www.vday.org and www.v-girls.org and www.onebillionrising.org