In an emotional curtain-call speech, Eve Ensler called for “the end of rape” and updated the subject of her new play, the Bosnian-based “Necessary Targets,” with comparisons to the atrocities committed against the women of Afghanistan.
Her words sounded extemporaneous Thursday night after actress Shirley Knight had claimed “it’s lonely up here,” and called for the “Vagina Monologues” scribe — along with the evening’s director, Michael Wilson — to join her on stage at the Variety Arts.
Down in the audience, former “Vagina” monologists Glenn Close and Elizabeth Ashley cheered as Wilson hoisted Ensler to the lip of the stage, soiling her black satin ensemble (hip-huggers, wraparound blouse and ample bare midriff) with the same dirt that kept wafting across the front rows whenever one of the enraged Bosnian refugees in the play kicked up the loose turf.
At the post-perf party at Paramount, Ensler talked about her next play, “The Good Body,” which she has been working on for two years.
“It’s the stories of women from 31 countries I’ve visited,” she revealed. “The play is about how they have mutilated, changed or transformed their bodies to fit into the culture.”
One of the associate producers of “Necessary Targets” is one-time fitness guru Jane Fonda, whom the author knows from her ongoing V-Day project.
“I’m working on something for her,” Ensler let go with a potent chunk of news. Is the two-time Oscar-winning actress returning to her thesp roots at long last with a brand new play? “Can’t say” came the reply.
As for the associate producer in question, her bio in the evening’s Playbill proved more revelatory: “(Fonda) focuses her activism and philanthropy on girl’s (sic) reproductive health, rights and building resiliency in girls and boys by addressing destructive gender stereotypes. She has traveled extensively in the developing world on behalf of these issues.”
Fonda did not take in opening night, but her presence was felt there nonetheless — it was that kind of evening.