Are all young women emotional creatures? Director Tanisha Taitt not only thinks so, but believes they should have a great big platform to let it all out in the form of a stage play.
Based on the wildly successful 2010 book, I Am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World, by Tony Award–winning playwright, performer and activist Eve Ensler, Emotional Creatures is a bold, funny and poignant invitation for girls to raise their voices, claim their bodies, follow their hearts and strive to be who they were born to be.
The Canadian premiere of the play is presented by V-Day, a global activist movement to stop violence against women and girls that was founded by Ensler.
“I have been involved with V-Day for almost eight years and started in 2006 as an actor in the Vagina Monologues,” Taitt says. “In 2007, I became the producer of V-Day Toronto and director for the Vagina Monologues.”
Emotional Creatures sees 13 young women, aged 13 to 19, take audiences on a journey as they courageously touch on topics that were inspired by conversations Ensler had with girls from around the world. Some of the themes discussed are sex and sexuality, teenage pregnancy, anorexia, genital mutilation and bullying. Their stories are communicated through song, monologues and spoken-word pieces.
Creatures also touches on one girl’s attraction to another young woman.
“There is a monologue called ‘Stephanie’d’ and it is about a young girl who was talking about another girl in her school that she is in love with,” Taitt says. “She doesn’t really know what it means or what to do with it, and she hasn’t defined herself in terms of what her orientation is.
“There is a real innocence to it because the character is still seeking and searching and she hasn’t labelled herself gay or straight or anything; she’s just kind of acknowledging that this other girl has kind of flipped her off her feet. And it’s really sweet and it’s one of my favourite moments in the show. At the end of the play she says, 'I’m not gay, I’m not straight, I’m Stephanied.”
Proceeds from the Toronto performances will benefit the Metro Action Committee on Violence against Women and Children (METRAC).