Eve Ensler (SHS 1971)

Playwright, Performer, Activist

At first blush, it seems as if Eve Ensler has only existed for the past ten years, when her first great work The Vagina Monologues appeared.  Of course that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Ensler had been living the life of a woman pressured and abused by both society and by some players in her life, especially her father.  These experiences became the subject of much of her subsequent work.

The Vagina Monologues took the theater by storm, receiving the Obie Award in 1996 for best new play It has been translated and performed into 35 different languages all over the globe. Celebrities called the theater to offer Ensler their dramatic services. Jane Fonda, Susan Sarandon, Glenn Close and Oprah Winfrey starred. Ensler’s own experiences in writing and producing The Vagina Monologues led her to found V-Day, February 14, a global movement to address the violence against women. The women running V-day have raised over $30,000,000.

Ensler is not a one trick pony. She has written eight other plays including Necessary Targets about women and war and The Good Body, for which she recently toured in a one woman “show.” That play raises the big question, why must women all over the world change their appearances to be accepted? She also has written three books that carry her message visa the printed word. Ensler’s most recent book, published in 2006 is Insecure at Last.

Not surprisingly, Ensler’s intellectual activism in the theater has led to a deep commitment to women, young and old, around the globe. Repeatedly, she has been honored for her efforts in this area. In 2002 she received the Amnesty International Media Spotlight Award for Leadership and the next year was honored by her alma mater, Middlebury College, granting her an Honorary Doctor of Letters.