Happiness is two scoops of vanilla ice cream. It might not seem like much, but in the upcoming production of Eve Ensler’s “The Good Body” at Ithaca College, those two scoops are a mountain of joy.
Directed by freshmen Pascale Florestal and Amanda Sirois, “The Good Body” hopes to be a jaw-dropping adventure. The show begins with the main character Eve Ensler, played by freshman musical theater major Megan Ort, as she explains her desire to look and be “good.” Ensler encounters eight women of all shapes, sizes and colors, who take her on a journey to discover the beauty of the female body. From days at fat camp to nights in the bedroom, there is nowhere these ladies won’t go to feel picture perfect.
In the play, all of the women want flat tummies and big breasts. These desires lead to surgeries, tucks, counting calories and days spent on a treadmill while avoiding evil foods like bread and ice cream. Still, many of the characters hunger for something more than a scoop of vanilla; they crave freedom.
Florestal said she wanted the play to send an empowering message of freedom to women in order to liberate them from the stress that accompanies pursuing a perfect body.
“I want people to understand that it’s not about changing,” she said. “It’s about accepting and loving yourself. No matter what the media says or what someone tells you to change, love your body for who it is, what it is and always love yourself.”
The cast consists of nine freshmen girls, which according to Florestal is an “honest coincidence.” Although the play is geared toward women, it is not limited to a female audience.
Freshman drama major Kristen Joyce, who plays Carmen, said men should see the show, as well.
“I think that [men] need to understand women’s bodies as much as women do because basically every woman’s story is because of men,” she said. “And everyone should be comfortable in their own skin, regardless of whether they’re a guy or a girl.”
Though the show is running smoothly now, it wasn’t long ago that everything seemed to be unraveling for the cast and crew.
Florestal said there were several issues that nearly prevented her from doing the play.
“It took me two and a half months to get the rights [to the show],” she said. “Then I actually had two cast members who cut the play. And our star, Megan Ort, got cast in [another show], which interfered with rehearsals.”
Freshman theater arts management major Alyssa Stoeckl, who plays Nina, said the show has had a greater effect than planned.
“I feel like it has affected our lives, and the way we look at our body,” she said. “We went into it trying to get acting experience, and it ended up being so much more.”
Joyce said, though it was not their original intention, the show has held significant weight with audiences.
“I don’t think we went into it trying to convey this message, but it actually turned into this meaningful piece,” she said.
The play is free to the public but has a suggested $3 donation, as all proceeds will be given to the Earthquake Relief Fund for Haiti. Florestal said the group originally planned to donate the show’s profits to Ensler’s charity, Women Against Violence, but changed their minds in favor of the Haiti relief charity.
“When we came back from school, Haiti had happened,” she said. “I’m actually Haitian, and it’s just really important for everyone to help out other countries, especially our neighbors.”
“The Good Body” will show Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 5 p.m. in Textor 101