Members say: Absorbing, Intense, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Profound

About the show

The Tony Award-winning author, performer, and activist Eve Ensler ('The Vagina Monologues') comes to MTC with a powerful new solo-play based on her critically acclaimed memoir.

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While working with women suffering from the ravages of war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ensler was stunned by a life-threatening diagnosis. Told with her signature brand of humor, Ensler’s personal journey uncovers surprising connections between her body and the earth and how illness can be both transformative and transcendent. Directed by Tony Award winner Diane Paulus.

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$59 Orchestra


All tickets $59 (regular $90). Price does not include facility fee of $2.50/ticket. Handling fees also apply. Discount code good for all performances through 3/25 except 2/6. Additional blackout dates may apply. Limit of 6 tickets per order. Offer subject to availability and prior sale. All sales are final – no refunds or exchanges. Offer may be revoked or modified at any time without notice.

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through 3/25


Offer valid on select seating for all performances through 03/25 except 02/06. Additional blackout dates may apply. Regular price for $59 tickets is $90. Prices subject to change. Price does not include a $2.50 facility fee. Normal service charges apply to phone and Internet orders. Limit of 6 tickets per order. Offer subject to availability and prior sale. All sales are final — no refunds or exchanges. Offer may be revoked or modified at any time without notice. Cast subject to change. Design by Shannon Reed and photos by Evgenia Eliseeva for American Repertory Theater.

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See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews


"In her emotionally uplifting new solo work, it is both body and soul that are placed center stage...Particularly poignant is the way she describes Rochester, Minnesota as a cancer town...While Ensler's story is a unique one, what is thoroughly relatable is her demonstration of the charitable side of humanity, and the downplaying of one's own suffering in order to use your experience to ease the pain of others." Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

"A harrowing evening, alleviated by the writer-performer's frequent doses of mordant humor. Unfortunately, the evening also comes off as self-indulgent, lacking the thematic depth that would elevate it into something more than an account of personal suffering...The piece is more effective when it strains less for poeticism...At times, the piece feels like an extended therapy session...Would have been more effective as a simple lecture." Full Review

The New York Times

"This is grim stuff...Ensler laces her tales with humor, gallows or otherwise...The play's intensely autobiographical self-focus will come off as liberating or oversharing...Rather than using Ensler's illness to illuminate the world's, it too often borrows from the world's suffering in an effort to legitimize her own...Ensler's disease would have been compelling enough on its own...The play itself, though, still ails; like most one-person shows, it needed a second opinion." Full Review

Time Out New York

"The story moves through a passionate study of the horrors of disease. Ensler feels everything keenly, and she conflates her different pains: a sister’s slight is described in the same tone of shock as her horror at mass incarceration...It’s simultaneously appalling—surely she can hear the narcissism?—and true. This really is what it means to be stuck in a body. It’s the center of your universe, all the time." Full Review


"Ensler's acerbic humor is one thing you get a feel for during her solo piece...Aside from a quick wit, Ensler proves her talent for building subtle emotional dynamics that give us the opportunity to laugh, not in spite of empathy, but because of it...When her body is engaged with the story, so is her audience. She's a warm, charming, grounded narrator...Like a mirror image of her own life, the story is choppy and off-roads more often than it stays any particular course." Full Review


"An intimate, shocking and touching tale...A bold, political work that is as personal and global as her signature work...Ensler connects the cancerous attack on her body with those women suffering from afar...Ensler presents it in a thoughtfully laid-out narrative quilt, made up of engaging frankness, measured sentiment, and disarming humor...It’s her knack of mixing the serious with the flip that keeps the air charged with sudden surprises and unexpected richness." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"This solo show is beyond criticism...And yet I can't escape the nagging feeling that Ensler has created a piece that is profoundly unhelpful...Ensler has uncanny descriptive powers and an eye for the outrageous, telling detail, often informed by her oddball sense of humor...Ensler's determination to see her suffering as a vast, enveloping metaphor for all forms of violence against women, her need to merge her illness with the ills of the world, comes off as weirdly grandiose." Full Review

Theater Life

"Ensler weaves the narrative of her medical issues with world issues...At times, the parallels are a tad heavy-handed, but the author-performer quickly balances self-deprecating humor and cutting observations with her social commentary...Paulus’ measured direction seamlessly guides us through Ensler’s multi-stage journey of horror and triumph...Ensler is a passionate advocate, sprightly comedienne, and friendly host...It’s an intense, inspiring encounter." Full Review

New York Theater

"Eye-opening, entertaining, and one of the most satisfying works of theater so far this year. With humor and passion and jaw-dropping candor, Eve Ensler riffs and rants (about various injustices), rhapsodizes (about trees) and rages (about uncaring doctors, about her parents, about…many things) – and in the process reveals Eve Ensler, take her or leave her...Director Diane Paulus pulls out all the stops, in what could be a lesson in how to turn a monologue into a full-fledged play." Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

“Ensler, disarmingly forthright…uses powerfully descriptive words…The pixyish, youthful-looking…Ensler has had quite a life, and you'll find out a lot about it in her…scary, funny, informative, moving, occasionally grisly, but scattershot docudrama…whose centerpiece is her battle with uterine cancer…It's understandable that Ensler would want to introduce some welcome wisecracks into the horrors…but is it really necessary for us to be asked to rise so we can dance during a hospital room party?” Full Review

Front Row Center

"Bearing her scars, figuratively and literally, Ensler explores how the disease, and its poisonous treatments, violated her body...Ensler entwines these observations with the stories she heard in her trips to the Democratic Republic of Congo...So compelling is this cancer-Congo-nature triangle, the show sinks a little whenever Ensler steps outside of it. She cannot help but throw some political barbs, but her tribulations make even Trump seem inconsequential." Full Review

New York Daily News

"Ensler doesn't tiptoe around a topic. She doesn't mince words. That unblinking, even brutal, bluntness is a strength in her solo play...Humor is another plus...She's not shy about revealing her scars - physical and psychic. It makes for anguished howl of a play...It's also a show that can meander and turn indulgent, even for a memoir...Directed with sensitivity by Paulus and enhanced by vivid projections, the play reminds that connection can arrive when and where it’s least expected." Full Review


“Ensler adapted her harrowing, revelatory 2013 memoir into an equally harrowing, revelatory play…Paulus has drawn an astonishing, and astonishingly anti-maudlin performance from Ensler…Some of it is blessedly hilarious. Most of it isn’t. And yet ‘In the Body of the World’ is tough love, harsh medicine, a tonic...I came out rattled as I have rarely been rattled by any theater experience, devastated and blissful at the same improbable time.” Full Review

Front Mezz Junkies

"Ensler is fearless, smart, and filled with overflowing confidence and power...Some of the stories are devastating, saddening, infuriating, but also she treats us to tales of love, compassion, and humor...I can’t say that I was completely drawn in...If you are drawn in, you’ll be held tight, but if not, you’ll walk out, like I did, bypassing the invitation, feeling that you did truly experience something powerful, but just not the internalized connection you might have been hoping for." Full Review


"Ensler doesn't soft pedal her trajectory from diagnosis through treatment, and some scenes detailing her own and the Congolese women's experiences are too painfully graphic...Under Diane Paulus's direction, this isn't one of those solo shows with a narrator sitting on a chair with no or minimal props, but one of the most theatrically effective examples of this genre…Ensler has aptly made her personal story tie in with global issues, so her humor is at its best when topical.” Full Review


"Eve Ensler’s riveting solo show...It rarely feels self-indulgent; the play is less an act of catharsis or even bragging than a continuation of Ensler’s two decades of activist work...Directed with enormous grace by the great Diane Paulus...This is a more traditional monologue. But it's never boring. Ensler is a master keeping an audience engaged, whether through passion or self-deprecation. Above all, there is an unmistakable air of honesty throughout." Full Review

Woman Around Town

"Ensler hastens to show she’s struggling, fallible, one of us...One can only admire the example she sets...The show includes grim details, but is pointedly not a deluge of suffering. Extremely deft, Ensler weaves humor through her story like a couturier...Both powerful and entertaining; beautifully written in fluid vignettes and marvelously acted. One forgets Eve Ensler is also a highly skilled performer...Gestures can shock or amuse. Manipulation is invisible. Pacing is perfect." Full Review

Wolf Entertainment Guide

“A bold and brave solo performance…Ensler has dug deeply into her personal experiences...There is a stretch in trying to tie the personal problem of her cancer with world problems...The link is the basis of her play, and one has to make the leap with her in order to appreciate her concept...Yet the passion in Ensler’s performance glows with sincerity and dynamism…It takes talent and excellent direction to hold one’s attention, which Ensler mostly does.” Full Review

Broadway & Me

"I'm sorry that Ensler had to go through such a harrowing experience but I'm also sorry that her show dragged me through it...A show about Ensler's efforts to help women in the Congo...But the body that gets the most attention is Ensler's own...What I resented most was Ensler's attempt to draw parallels between her experience and that of the Congolese women...Equating the ordeal comes off as the kind of cultural imperialism that Ensler herself usually abhors." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"Frank, fierce, and surprisingly funny...Although it is not for the squeamish, it is both inspiring and savvy...The script takes great pains to veer away from self-blame or pat conclusions. Instead, since there can be no definitive answers, Ensler zeroes in on activism as cure...It’s an empowering example of the necessary balance between self-care and care of others...Ensler’s triumphant recovery and return to writing, acting, and advocacy leaves us feeling buoyant and uplifted." Full Review


"Her latest monologue, "In the Body of the World,' is metaphorically all over the map. It's fueled by a manic energy and stuffed with a myriad of issues...At times, it feels like performance-art-as-therapy in stream of consciousness fashion as she tries to come to terms with her illness and dysfunctional family...Peppering even the worst moments with pointed humor...Paulus's direction is a huge plus, tying together the disparate elements with clarity and sensitivity." Full Review


“Ensler keeps the play afloat with her frankness and humor, even when she unabashedly displays her wounds and describes parts of her body removed or mangled. We accompany her to New York City where she first tries Memorial Sloan Kettering, but settles on Beth Israel, where her doctor treats her like a real, living, breathing person. She rallies in a room with the view of a tree. Images of the tree and rallies of brave women in the Congo illuminate her experiences.” Full Review


“Ensler’s frank vulnerability and synthesis of the personal and political reaches thrilling new heights in director Diane Paulus’ striking production…Among the play’s most impressive qualities is Ensler’s ability to draw such symbolic parallels between her own illness and the ills of the world in such a way that illuminates both without distortions of scale...A gifted and natural storyteller…Ensler has rarely seemed more exhilarated or full of life — just when we need her most.” Full Review

New York Magazine / Vulture

"'In the Body of the World' is nothing if not self-satisfied and problematic...While the connection Ensler is attempting to draw between the disease of a single body and the ills of the world isn’t in itself troubling, the fact that all her stories also seem to bleed together — into a kind of showy solipsism masquerading as impassioned vulnerability — is...There’s almost a feeling of torture porn in her descriptions of the atrocities she’s witnessed or had recounted to her." Full Review

City Cabaret

"Ensler centers her new play in the core of her body. Political and personal...With precision and snaps of wit, she traces her painful journey...There is no straight road in this solo performance but Ensler is a likable, sharp-talking guide through her excruciating tour through hell. Segments are quick, brash, honest although the numerous metaphors can be tiresome...Ensler lightens her visions with black humor, and the journey with her is depressing, to be sure, but worth the visit." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

Extraordinary, excruciatingly demanding, inspiring

See it if you are brave, willing to be emotionally challenged, ready to laugh and cry, unafraid of hard truths, open to unsettling revelations

Don't see it if you want an easy night in the theatre that won't give you nightmares and make you count your blessings.

Also I knew it would be brutal. I knew it would touch me personally as a su... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Great writing, Great staging

See it if you can relate to both personal tragedy and loss as well as the horrifying degradation of women in the Congo. The contrast is compelling

Don't see it if you are unwilling to expose yourself to the trauma of loss and abuse. This is rough material handled well and powerfully. Bravo

Absorbing, Edgy, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Quirky

See it if you know you can enjoy one-person autobiographical shows that deal with serious, sometimes depressing subjects.

Don't see it if you know you would not enjoy a detailed description of the author's cancer diagnosis and treatment plus horrifying stories about the Congo.

Also Though dealing with depressing subjects, the author/performer tells he... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Edgy, Relevant, Humorous, Passionate

See it if you're interested in an honest autobiographical telling of one woman's experience with cancer; working with rape victims in the Congo.

Don't see it if partial nudity and baring your soul and body are offensive to you; Ensler is an open book about the physical ravages of uterine cancer

Also Ensler may not be the best actress around but her passion, honesty. hu... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Ambitious, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Masterful

See it if Like one woman shows, interested in personal narratives. Aren’t upset by upsetting medical issues or strong liberal feminist narratives

Don't see it if Are upset by cancer stories, disliked Vagina Monologues,dislike Eve Ensler. Want a musical or traditional play. Want to see something light

Absorbing, Intelligent, Riveting, Great writing, Shocking

See it if You can stand true horror stories and you want an education in how bad it can get. You think your life is tough.

Don't see it if Your depressed or easily depressed. Horror brings you down.

Absorbing, Clever, Edgy, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if you're an Ensler fan, interested in fighting cancer and improving lives of young women in Africa, like 1-person shows & visual surprises

Don't see it if not interested in 1-person shows or author's experience fighting cancer or working with young girls in Africa, brief female nudity

Also Ensler has a powerful story to tell, probably one not possible without... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Profound

See it if Eve Ensler (The Vagina Monologues) in a one women show about her fight with cancer. Well written of course. Well staged.

Don't see it if it is a depressing show. Hard to recommend but it is well done.

Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Indulgent

See it if To watch Eve Ensler (Vagina Monologues) relate her ordeal with cancer in great detail. Nothing is left unsaid. Charity work is great!!!

Don't see it if You are offended by nudity or too many medical details. You or a close family member or friend is suffering through a disease.

Also Ms. Ensler tried to interject gallows humor. I felt like a prisoner in... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Intense, Ironic, Emotionally draining yet uplifting

See it if you know Eve Ensler's feminist/body focused activism; can tolerate a very personal survival story juxtaposed with unspeakable war crimes

Don't see it if you are unable to listen to very graphic description of medical issues, torture of women, personal & family dysfunction-a lot to handle here

Also Some critics will find much of this monologue indulgent. This play is ... Read more Read less

Eve ensler's one-person show about facing cancer, helping congolese women more an inspiring performance piece than a work of theater

See it if Ensler, a force of nature, speaks truth to power, often bluntly funny; had many in the audience cheering her on

Don't see it if one-person shows are tricky; need either a great script or a gifted performer playing many roles (see Billy Crudup); this show had neither

Ambitious, Intense, Thought-provoking, Disappointing, Uneven

See it if you're a fan of Ensler or have an interest in cancer care or the atrocities of the 2nd Congolese Civil War & steps taken to heal from them.

Don't see it if you do not love solo shows, or 1st person narratives that conflate personal pain with world events.

Also I left this wildly uneven solo show deeply conflicted. Eve Ensler addr... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Intelligent, Great writing

See it if you enjoy excellent storytelling and are comfortable with uncomfortable topics

Don't see it if you want a larger production than a 1-person show; looking for a purely joyful experience

Absorbing, Intelligent, Intense, Masterful, Great writing

See it if A powerful show that tells parallel tales of Ensler’s fight against cancer and her efforts to build a women’s sanctuary in Congo.

Don't see it if Some of the descriptions are very painful to hear. Ensler is a compelling writer and presence, but not the greatest actress.

Absorbing, Resonant, Painful

See it if you need to shake up from your comfortable life, or you are looking for inspiring survivors if things are tough. It's a shock therapy show.

Don't see it if you don't like emotional, personal solo-shows. You fell uncomfortable listening about cancer or sexual abuse.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Masterful, Great writing

See it if The work is powerful, finely crafted and is a painful journey of her health and the creation and life in The City Of Hope.

Don't see it if If topics of cancer and the disturction of woeman body’s thue rape and the sadness to know that the UN in the Congo is beyond corrupt .

Also I had the opportunity to read the script before. And as hard as the ma... Read more Read less

Funny, Absorbing, Must see, Profound, Entertaining

See it if You want to see a well done play that follows one woman through her battle while helping other women witth theirs. Funny, must see!!

Don't see it if If you dont like one woman shows, or don't want to hear about real life womens health issues.

Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Profound, Resonant, Slow

See it if you are a fan of Eve Ensler. Or even if you don't know anything about Eve Ensler. It will be a profound experience getting to know her.

Don't see it if you get easily lost with metaphors. Do not like monologues.

Absorbing, Intense, Relevant, Resonant, Great staging

See it if you are a fan of Eve Ensler's work and enjoy an intense monologue on her harrowing experience with cancer and atrocities impacting women.

Don't see it if if have trouble with "feminism," female empowerment, women's bodies or are a prude. This is an intense show that is nakedly revealing.

Funny, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great staging

See it if You love Ensler or enjoy one woman/man shows about personal journeys. This is a very intimate retelling of Eve’s compelling life story.

Don't see it if You need an intermission - this is 80 minutes of heavy. Also, don’t bring your squeamish partner. Bring an open minded friend.

Also The set is amazing. After the show the the audience is invited to tour... Read more Read less

Funny, Intense, Relevant, Disturbing, Moving

See it if Woman devoted to helping Congolese rape and torture survivors gets stage IV cancer. Harrowing yet hopeful. Powerful delivery and staging.

Don't see it if You don’t want to confront real horrors both far away and nearer to home. Stark descriptions of bodily mutilation.

Great acting, Intelligent, Intense, Masterful, Great writing

See it if Eve Ensler is beyond fantastic. I saw the first preview and it knocked my socks off. I hung on her every word and did not want show to end

Don't see it if You have no heart. You do not like one woman shows. You do not like thinking about what life and death really are.

Funny, Absorbing, Profound, Riveting, Great writing

See it if You're a fan of Eve Ensler's work, women's or social issues. This is a beautiful story of Eve's illness fight and current state of the world

Don't see it if You are sensitive to stories about cancer, third world struggles or don't like one women plays.

Thought-provoking, Profound, Relevant

See it if You want to see a master storyteller who captivates and conjures vivid imagery.

Don't see it if You can't handle very heavy material, especially about violence against women.

Absorbing, Intelligent, Moving

See it if you enjoy one person shows (I do not usually like one person shows)... the story and performance take you on a memorable, moving journey.

Don't see it if The performance I attended had technical difficulties toward the end of the play. I think this made for a anticlimatic ending. .. oh well

Cast & Creatives (9)