Booth Theatre, (11/15/2004 - 12/19/2004)

First Preview: Oct 22, 2004
Opening Date: Nov 15, 2004
Closing Date: Dec 19, 2004
Total Previews: 27
Total Performances: 40

Category: Special, Solo, Original, Broadway

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Owned / Operated by The Shubert Organization (Gerald Schoenfeld: Chairman; Philip J. Smith: President; Robert E. Wankel: Executive Vice President)

Produced by Harriet Newman Leve, The Araca Group and East of Doheny; Produced in association with American Conservatory Theatre of San Francisco; Associate Producer: Clint Bond, Jr., Edward Nelson, Allison Prouty and Laura Wagner

Original workshop at Seattle Repertory Theatre

Written by Eve Ensler

Directed by Peter Askin

Scenic Design by Robert Brill; Costume Design by Susan Hilferty; Lighting Design by Kevin Adams; Original Music and Sound Design: David Van Tieghem; Video Design by Wendall K. Harrington; Co - Sound Design: Jill B.C. Du Boff; Assistant Scenic Design: Dustin O'Neill and Jenny B. Sawyers; Assistant Costume Design: Maiko Matsushima; Assistant Lighting Design: Elizabeth Gaines; Assistant Video Design: Zak Borovay; Video Programmer: Paul Vershbow

Company Manager: Julie Crosby; General Manager: The Araca Group and Leve Productions

Production Supervisor: Drew Siccardi; Production Stage Manager: Arabella Powell; Stage Manager: Elisa Guthertz

Dramaturg: Priya Parmar; Dialect Coach: Deborah Hecht; Performance Consultant: Carol Fox Prescott; Movement Consultant: Lisa Leguillou; Press Representative: The Publicity Office; Marketing: The Araca Group; Advertising: SPOTCo, Inc.; Photographer: Joan Marcus

Opening Night Cast

Eve EnslerPerformer

Reviews


AP: "Ensler's 'Good Body' Entertaining "

In "The Good Body," Eve Ensler's insightful, entertaining and often hilarious sermonette on the tyranny of physical perfection, the middle-age performer does something more daring than just baring her soul.

She bares her stomach.

It's the one part of her body, where, Ensler says, "badness" resides, and, as a consequence, she will do anything within her power to flatten it out of existence. At least that's what she was taught growing up in the 1950s when "'good' was simply what girls were supposed to be." And thin and blond, too.

Ensler's pursuit of flattening was the genesis for "The Good Body," which opened Monday at Broadway's Booth Theatre. It should have a long life for its author, who also wrote that other piece of feminine stage philosophy, "The Vagina Monologues."

The actress, sporting a Louise Brooks bob and a billowy, sleeveless pants suit, takes the audience on a 90- minute journey through her own and other women's observations about their bodies. The stage setting, designer Robert Brill's mock fashion shoot set up complete with mannequins, suggests glamour. But it's glamour laden with a heavy dose of angst, anger and humor, particularly as Ensler tells it.

She starts with her own story, her desperate attempts at diet ("bread is Satan"), exercise (with the help of a fascistic trainer named Vernon), even praying for a parasite to help her lose weight (she gets her wish). Nothing seems to help.

Self-esteem is a problem, too, and so are her parents. "My father looked like Cary Grant. My mother looked like Doris Day. I was a dead ringer for Anne Frank," she says at one point.

Ensler also portrays a variety of other women, including a few famous ones such as Helen Gurley Brown, the godmother of Cosmopolitan, talking about her many nips and tucks, and lsabella Rossellini, after being fired as a cosmetics spokeswoman for being too old.

More interesting are her portraits of little known women struggling to deal with body issues. There's the teenager looking for Cheetos at the fat camp and angry at ail the skinny girls; the Puerto Rican woman worrying about "the spread" - that rapid expansion of thighs; the fashion model who has had everything worked on; the proud, pierced lesbian.

Ensler also travels overseas to get a foreign perspective, and it's here where she gains insight, an understanding of how women in other lands deal with their bodies. There's the wise Masai woman in Africa, bewildered at Ensler's complaints, and the practical Indian who advises that there is "no joy in perfection. ... If you are perfect, you might as well be dead."

Ensler may not be the most nuanced of actresses, but she has an appealing stage persona that lets her get away with only sketchy approximations of these commonsensical women.

"My body will be mine when I am thin," Ensler says at the beginning of the evening. Fortunately, she doesn't quite get down to that desired size. But then if she had, "The Good Body" might never have happened.


AP
11/15/2004

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