Auckland is currently experiencing a time of plenty in terms of women-centric entertainment. Casts featuring a significantly more representative ratio of women and non-binary folk to men are on the rise within the Auckland theatre scene. One collective dedicated to increasing representations of minority groups in media, The Others Club, delivered a production of Eve Ensler’s Emotional Creature – featuring an all-women cast – at Samoa House on K Road earlier this April.
Emotional Creature, which was penned by the author of The Vagina Monologues, is a collection of monologues, poetry and ensemble pieces inspired by girls around the world. Scenes stretch ambitiously across subject matter and seriousness. Just a few of the sketches include; an online pro-anorexia forum, a high-school girl trying to fit in with the cool kids, a teenager who misses her ‘funny nose’ removed by plastic surgery, a girl escaping female genital mutilation, and an exploration of queer sexuality and relationship dynamics.
The humour and passion of the six diverse, extremely talented actresses (many of whom are recent acting school graduates) was undeniably on point throughout the production. Each and every one of the cast members were engaging and riveting in their own way – at some particularly intense points I almost felt I was intruding on something private. Their many talents were further showcased with the inclusion of song, dance, as well as the drastic mood changes between scenes.
In terms of scripting, I personally found Eve Ensler’s writing a bit heavy on gender essentialism and sex negativity – perhaps even too second-wave-y to comfortably call feminist. However, I think that the core goal of Emotional Creature, to celebrate the secret life of girls around the world, was achieved. Emotional Creature covered a lot of women-related, if not feminist ground, and welcomed a whole lot of new talent to the Auckland entertainment scene, too.