BWW Interview: Kiersey Clemons and Liz Mikel Talk Eve Ensler's FRUIT TRILOGY

BWW Interview: Kiersey Clemons and Liz Mikel Talk Eve Ensler's FRUIT TRILOGY
Liz Mikel and Kiersey Clemons.
Photo. by Maria Baranova.

FRUIT TRILOGY is a new trio of plays by Tony Award winning playwright Eve Ensler. The New York debut features Kiersey Clemons and Liz Mikel in three short plays that give a voice to women: "Pomegranate" where one morning there are two women for sale on the produce shelf; in "Avocado" a young woman is on a chaotic journey toward freedom; and "Coconut" examines a woman connecting with her body. To get the inside scoop, we sat down with Clemons and Mikel to discuss the show.


What is it like getting to be part of the New York debut of new works by renown playwright Eve Ensler?

Kiersey Clemons: It's an honor. Her work is therapeutic.

Liz Mikel: It's a wonderful experience and an unbelievable opportunity. Having any chance of working on an important piece written by Eve Ensler is a dream.

What has it been like getting to work with Eve Ensler on these plays?

KC: She's so cozy and encouraging. She makes me feel strong.

LM: Eve has been to rehearsals a couple of times. But, more importantly, she is always ready to discuss the play and is very accessible. Her input is invaluable. She gives you insight and lets you know why the piece was written.

BWW Interview: Kiersey Clemons and Liz Mikel Talk Eve Ensler's FRUIT TRILOGY
Liz Mikel & Kiersey Clemons in "Pomegranate."
Photo by Maria Baranova.

With the #MeToo movement happening, these themes and topics seem more relevant then ever. How does this trilogy speak to these issues?

KC: We're telling the truth about your body being taken away and reclaiming it. We hear the surface of the stories, but this is the nitty gritty.

LM: Eve has been tackling these hard issues for years. This piece is reflective of her dedication to empowering women. FRUIT TRILOGY is a call to all of us to examine patriarchy and its affect on women.

How did you prepare for your characters in FRUIT TRILOGY?

KC: I've been working on keeping my own anxiety levels down. Baths, appreciating my own freedom, being aware of my privileges, and expressing love to myself. I've appreciated myself more than ever in order to remember what Avocado doesn't have.

LM: My preparation for the character in "Coconut" has been my life. I have experienced some of the same things when it comes to body issues and acceptance.

BWW Interview: Kiersey Clemons and Liz Mikel Talk Eve Ensler's FRUIT TRILOGY
Kiersey Clemons in "Avocado."
Photo by Maria Baranova.

Theater, in general, often appeals to people across political divides, but this particular play may be a tough sell to some audiences. How would you pitch these plays to someone who may not politically align with the writer?

KC: We aren't making a political statement. This is life - things that are actually happening around the world - in people's heads and bathrooms. This isn't a stance. It's reality, and only people who seem to be inhumane will not understand because they don't want to.

LM: I would tell them that theatre is a place to experience thoughts and stories that may not be a part of our daily lives, but lends an understanding to the world in which we live. It's a way to expand our thinking and push our limits. FRUIT TRILOGY asks us to expand individually and collectively.

Thinking beyond the frame of politics, what do you feel is the universal appeal to these three plays?

KC: Women. Women are the universal appeal.

LM: No matter who you are or where you live, you know someone who has been affected in some way by abuse, misuse of power, limited thinking, bullying, etc. These issues affect us all.

BWW Interview: Kiersey Clemons and Liz Mikel Talk Eve Ensler's FRUIT TRILOGY
Liz Mikel in "Coconut."
Photo by Maria Baranova.

As an actress in these shows, what do you hope audiences gain from seeing them?

KC: Whatever their trauma needs them to see.

LM: I hope the audience leaves feeling enlightened and ignited about making a change within themselves, their communities, and the world.

What advice would offer to someone studying to be a professional actress?

KC: Know your strengths and nurture them.

LM: This profession is not for the faint of heart but for the love of telling stories and bringing characters to life. It requires passion, dedication, and the willingness to fall on your face. But your love of "The Craft" will sustain you and fill your heart. Don't let anything deter you from your passion. You will be glad you did.

BWW Interview: Kiersey Clemons and Liz Mikel Talk Eve Ensler's FRUIT TRILOGY
Liz Mikel , Kiersey Clemons, & playwright Eve Ensler.
Photo by Maria Baranova.

FRUIT TRILOGY runs through 23 at the Lucille Lortel Theatre (121 Christopher Street, NYC), with an official opening night on June 7. Tickets are available at abingdontheatre.org or by calling 212-352-3101. For more information about FRUIT TRILOGY, season subscriptions, and group bookings visit abingdontheatre.org or call 212-868-2055.

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From This Author David Clarke

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