The Good Body Review
“What the f*** is kale?” one woman asks a crowd, as she’s discussing the recent craze of vegetables as snack foods.
The Good Body, a brilliant interpretation on what it means to feel uncomfortable in your own skin, aims to answer that question and many more. The production team that brought us The Vagina Monologues strikes back with a new and important piece about the severity of eating disorders and body positivity.
The narrative follows the author, Eve Ensler, played by 3 women--Danielle Drop, Dena Brody and Niki Rihal respectively--as she journeys across the world on the hunt for the perfect self image. Along the way, Eve comes across several women of vastly different cultures and backgrounds, all with their own stories about their body and self image.
I found the set of the play to be especially intriguing, considering the concept. All 30 actors sat on the stage during the entirety of the show, watching as people from magazine editors to self-proclaimed bitches reflect on the female form. The choice to keep everyone onstage united the cast as a whole, and connected each of the stories together as one complete narrative through several vignettes. The stage was decorated with large posters of magazine covers, showcasing what society perceives as the “perfect” body. What does that mean, a “perfect” body? This simple, yet effective backdrop outlines the message of body positivity that defines this piece.
A few narratives stuck out in particular to me as unique. A woman talked to Eve about her vast experience with plastic surgery, and the relationship she developed with her surgeon. It began as a breast augmentation, and then molded into a full-fledged body transformation as she fell more in love with her surgeon; she worried that she would never be good enough for him as just herself. On the contrary, a different woman tells Eve about her decision to get breast reduction surgery in order to avoid attention from her mother’s boyfriend. These stories resonate with those who wish to change the bodies they were born in for--someone else’s sake--for a man or love they felt they couldn’t achieve without changing themselves. Throughout the play, Eve struggles with her weight and often asks her partner if her stomach was flat enough, despite the fact that he loves her as she is.
It is these stories that are too common, yet often overlooked. Women are told to be a certain way, even if that’s not what they are. According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa, about 30 million people nationwide develop eating disorders every year. This production spreads awareness about these statistics, and the women and men involved demonstrated resonance and courage for having a conversation. They remind us that we live in a good body, no matter what is looks like or where it’s been. It is yours. And that is enough.