Preview: Emotional Creature (V-Day Toronto)

An in-depth look at the struggles of teen girls, Emotional Creature is playing at Toronto’s Young People’s Theatre Feb 22-23

It has often been said that a single voice can’t change the world. But it is only the brave and unrelenting who dare to try that will have their voices heard.

Written by award-winning playwright Eve Ensler, Emotional Creature  (presented by  V-Day Toronto in conjunction with Nightwood Theatre and Young People’s Theatre) chronicles the coming-of-age experiences of 13 girls – all in order to raise awareness surrounding the injustices that many young women must endure.

Emotional Creature is about girls around the world and asks all young people and particularly girls to contemplate the circumstances of others, connect to those circumstances, and be a voice for those whose circumstances keep their voices silent,” wrote Tanisha Taitt, the show’s director, in an email to Mooney on Theatre.

Touted as a success by various press outlets like The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly, Emotional Creature makes its Canadian debut this Saturday at the Young People’s Theatre.

Lessons to Be Learned by All

Through the use of song, dialogue and dance, the 13 young actresses will strive to give the audience a glimpse into the struggles faced by our world’s young women. The subject matter ranges from one young lady’s first-world problem of not being able to fit in at school, all the way to a Bulgarian prisoner’s life and death struggle.

And while the problems faced by these characters are unique to their individual situations, these girls share the same obstacles that are experienced by many young women and men during some point of their adolescence.

“The play may tell girls’ stories, but the feelings expressed are human feelings,” Taitt stated. “The play gives everyone the freedom to embrace that part of themselves again.”

Indeed, Taitt explained in her email that this play, while exalting the value of girl power, should be viewed as a call to arms for everybody in attendance to stand against prejudice, hate and discrimination.

“We now have to work harder — as educators, parents and mentors — to remind teens that empathy is everything.  If they can put empathy first — within their own lives and social circles — they can carry it with them when processing the plights of others in wildly varying circumstances all over the planet.”

Theatre as an Outlet for Social Change

Director, Tanisha Taitt
Director, Tanisha Taitt

According to Taitt, “theatre is an art form like no other.”

Unlike television or film, theatre is alive, she explains. It’s an experience where the actors and the audience all get to interact in real time – each feeding off the energy of the other.

“A theatre audience can be impacted by their fellow human beings in a way that no other art form allows, because watching people expose their hearts and souls on stage in real time cannot be replicated.”

Because of this connection, a play’s message is delivered to the very hearts and souls of the audience.

In this case, instead of simply stating there are real and visceral problems that young women must face every day, Emotional Creature strives to tap into an audience member’s sense of empathy in order to affect positive social change.

Supporting a Good Cause

Proceeds from this weekend’s performances will benefit the Metro Action Committee on Violence against Women and Children (METRAC) – a community-based non-profit organization whose mandate is to prevent and eliminate violence against women and children.

“They are an incredible organization that works tirelessly educating youth on gender equality and violence, providing legal advocacy for raped and battered women in preparing court cases, and supporting shelters that protect abused women and their kids.  I love the fact that youth education and youth empowerment is a part of their mandate, in addition to everything else that they do”

After all, explains Taitt, “The single greatest contribution that young people can make to the world is to be brave, conscious and kind within it.”


*Photo credit: Ayesha Mansur

Information about Each Organization

(Taken from this production’s press release)

V-Day Toronto

V-Day is a global movement to end violence against women and girls. V-Day is a catalyst that promotes creative events to increase awareness, raise money, and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations. V-Day generates broader attention for the fight to stop violence against women and girls, including rape, sexual abuse, domestic violence and sex slavery.  To date, the movement has raised over $90,000,000 in support of anti-violence initiatives.  In 2013, V-Day events took place in 203 countries around the world.

Nightwood Theatre

Led by Artistic Director Kelly Thornton and Managing Director Denyse Karn, Nightwood Theatre forges creative alliances among women artists from diverse backgrounds in order to develop and produce innovative Canadian theatre. We produce original Canadian plays and works from the contemporary international repertoire, advocate for women, provide a training ground for emerging talent and engage artists in play development and theatre production. We strive to make theatre that is relevant, awakens a new perspective, and promotes empathy and a deeper connection to our humanity.

Young People’s Theatre

Led by Artistic Director Allen MacInnis and Executive Director Nancy J. Webster, Young People’s Theatre is the oldest continuously operating theatre company in Toronto and is a national producer and presenter of theatre for young audiences. Over the past 48 years, many of the important pieces that form the canon of plays for young audiences in Canada have appeared on our stages…Through the professional theatrical work produced on our stages and through the enriched learning experiences we offer with our Education & Participation programs, YPT provides young people with ways to develop their whole being.  This is central to YPT’s artistic policy. We want to have a positive and lasting impact on the emotional, social, and intellectual development of young people – in order for them to grow into the unique and wonderful people they were born to be.