By Matthew Blank
17 Dec 2012
Directed by Obie Award winner Jo Bonney (By the Way, Meet Vera Stark) with original music and musical direction by Charl-Johan Lingenfelder, Emotional Creature plays the Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre at the Pershing Square Signature Center (480 W. 42nd Street); this is not a Signature Theatre Company production. The New York engagement is produced by Carole Black and Pat Mitchell.
The first rehearsal in New York was dedicated to Malala Yousufzai, a 14-year-old Pakistani teen activist who was shot in the head Oct. 8 by a Taliban gunman. At the time, Ensler stated, "The reason I wrote Emotional Creature was to honor people like Malala Yousufzai — a fearless young activist who is an inspiration to teen girls the world over. We cannot begin this process without keeping her in our thoughts. Today's first rehearsal is dedicated to her bravery, her cause, and what I hope is her speedy recovery."
Ensler is the recipient of the 2011 Isabelle Stevenson Award as part of the Tony Awards. Based on Ensler's 2010 bestselling book, Emotional Creature "explores what it is to be a girl — all the joys and thrills, the rites of passage, the growing pains, and the unique pressures — through a series of original monologues, stories, and songs."
The production "spans wildly disparate cultures and continents, highlighting the diversity and commonality of the issues girls face, both personal and political, the world over."
The play was first workshopped at New York Stage and Film at Vassar College in August 2010, with subsequent workshops in Johannesburg, South Africa and Paris, France.
The cast of Emotional Creature features a young ensemble of six: Ashley Bryant (A Free Man of Color), Molly Carden (The Bird and the Two-Ton Weight at Ensemble Studio Theatre), Emily S. Grosland (Off-Broadway debut), 2012 Theatre World Award winner Joaquina Kalukango (Hurt Village), Sade Namei (The Flying Latke at the Flea) and Olivia Oguma (A Christmas Carol, Mamma Mia!).
The creative team also includes Luam (choreography), Myung Hee Cho (scenic and costume design), Lap Chi Chu (lighting design) and Shawn Sagady (projection design).
"Emotional Creature is about being a girl in the world in 2012 and about discovering the girl in each of us," Ensler said in a statement. "It is about changing the verb from please to create or defy or resist or imagine. It is about traveling and dancing and refusing. It is about telling secrets and breaking taboos and building a posse."
Tickets for the Off-Broadway run of Emotional Creature are $75 and can be purchased at ticketcentral.com.
For more information, visit emotionalcreature.com.