Eve Ensler’s Timely Fruit Trilogy with Kiersey Clemons and Liz Mikel

 

Learning More From the Women in Pomegranate, Avocado and Coconut

 

Kiersey Clemons, Liz Mikel

 

By Sandi Durell

 

Staunch feminist, activist, playwright and actress, Eve Ensler, embodies political and social theater as a voice for women everywhere. She was thrust into the limelight with The Vagina Monologues, recently followed by her memoir and one woman performance In The Body of the World that unleashed the passion and heroic emotional courage against violence.

Ensler’s upcoming new world premiere Fruit Trilogy will open soon at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, produced by Abingdon Theatre Company and directed by Mark Rosenblatt. The two women chosen to play the pivotal roles are Kiersey Clemons and Liz Mikel to tell the stories – – – Pomegranate, where women are for sale and it’s just another day on the shelf; Avocado– about a young woman taking her chaotic and shocking steps to freedom and Coconut who learns to connect to her body. Stories woven together with dark humor and theatricality.

These are difficult tasks for any actress.

 

1 – How will you prepare for your roles?

 

Liz: The roles require a commitment to being completely open and a willingness to be emotionally transparent. Beyond learning lines, I have done a lot of crying. Being a part of anything that Eve writes is a call to grow personally and professionally. Her artistic vision and commitment to changing our world for the better is always a welcome experience.

Kiersey: Taking care of my body physically and finding a place to put my own anger and anxiety. 

 

2 – What message about the women you are playing, do you want your audience to receive

 

Liz: I hope the audience leaves ignited by a woman’s acceptance of her body in a world where body shaming is the norm.

Kiersey: That people caught in human trafficking are not aliens, they aren’t just dealing with loss of their freedom or bodies, they have a past and trauma they still face everyday and are working through along with their current circumstances. 

  

3– How do you relate personally to the particular character you are playing? 

 

Liz: Coconut’s childhood experience with her size is eerily close to mine. I’ve been 6’1” since I was 13 years old.

Kiersey: Avocado and Kiersey are always looking for their new beginning. 

   

4 – Can you share a personal experience (if you have one) that parallels the character you play? 

 

Liz: There is a moment in Coconut that reflects on her ballet recital. My experience wasn’t exactly like hers, but it was close because of my size and how the world viewed me.

 

5 – How do you think Eve Ensler’s words and imagery have heightened the awareness of her audiences? 

 

Liz: Eve cares deeply about our world and the people that are seemingly easily forgotten or dismissed. It is her mission to eradicate the needless suffering of women and poor people and she uses her platform as an artist and activist to bring it to the forefront.

Kiersey: She is not afraid to talk about what is actually happening. She does not tip toe around the truth.

 

6 – You’ve done theater/film/television. Which brings you the most satisfaction and why? 

 

Liz: There is nothing like the shared energy of an actor and the audience in the theater. All of us in the room going on the same journey is magical. 

Kiersey: I’m not sure yet; I still have so much more to try, more to do. 

 

7 – Working on this play, what are your thoughts about Eve Ensler and her message? 

 

Liz: I’m grateful that she trusts me to spread her message of acceptance and survival to the world.

Kiersey: She doesn’t separate her art and her activism, they are one and the same and I think we need more of that. 

 

8 – The #MeToo movement started in Hollywood. As actors, what changes have you noticed in your industry? 

 

Liz: I know it has made me more aware of making off color comments to men. I can only pray more people, especially men in positions of power are hyper aware of their comments and intentions. I started the change with myself.

Kiersey: Men are more aware of how they speak to me and touch me, more aware of the fact that I have a mouth that isn’t afraid to speak and friends that aren’t afraid to support. They are intimidated; this is a good thing. 

 

9 – When it comes to theater, Ensler is an icon. Who else might you like to work with?

 

Liz: I’m grateful to have worked with Eve more than once! She is a force of nature. I was fortunate to have had Phylicia Rashad as a Master teacher when I was named a Lunt Fontanne fellow. I would love to be directed by her.

Kiersey: Women of color. 

 

10 – Historically, theater has been about escapism; lately it has become more socially aware. Why is that an important shift?

 

Liz: The magic of theater is that we can tell stories to promote thoughts and conversations that we normally might not have the courage or foresight to engage in.

Kiersey: We have social media now, we can find out about anything happening anywhere in the world. To be so aware and then not talk about or take part in making a change seems inhumane to me. 

 

Fruit Trilogy will open at the Lucille Lortel Theatre on June 2 for a limited engagement thru June 23 with an official opening night of June 7 at 7 pm.

 

Tickets: www.Ovationtix.comor 212 352-3101

 

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