Eve Ensler, Obie winning playwright, she has devoted her artistic and activist energies to helping homeless women and survivors of violence around the world. She is likely best known for her play “The Vagina Monologues.“
Ms. Ensler has taught on the college level. She takes these well honed teaching skills into New York’s Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, to encourage women inmates to explore their inner feelings through the written word. This documentary “What I Want My Words To Do To You” takes you inside these classes and into the world few are privy to, in a film that is sure to inspire.This portrait of fifteen women prisoners, and their experiences in this writing workshop, is powerful viewing.
Their writings are later performed before fellow prisoners by actresses Mary Alice, Zoe Caldwell, Glenn Close, Ruby Dee, Hazelle Goodman, Marybeth Hurt, Phylicia Rashad, Rosie Perez, and Marisa Tomei. This group of actresses has generously donated their time and talent to performances in various venues these written works, some of which have raised significant funds for the prison’s college education program.
This documentary was recommended by a friend and recently became available through Netflix having been previously featured on the PBS Point of View series for independent films some years back. There is a teaching guide on their site and viewers are encouraged to use the film to spark community dialogue about the topics in this thoughtful film.