Zoe Weil invites her audience to settle down for an hour and a half in her one-woman performance “My Ongoing Problems with Kindness: Confessions of a MOGO Girl.” As an educator for the Institute for Humane Education with a passion for kindness, Zoe envisions herself as a modern-day superhero. But her performance does not set out to convince you of her perfection.
Her blatant honesty and willingness to confess some of her less than MOst GOod choices appeals to the humanity within us all. Most importantly, if you appreciate vulgarity, Zoe’s confessions will make you laugh uncontrollably. As she points out, drinking the milk of another animal is just as natural as fornicating publicly.
Standing calmly on the carpet beneath her, Zoe confesses, “When you work for the Institute for Humane Education, it does not behoove you to cultivate a reputation as bitch!” Although her main job is as an educator, this performance draws out laugh after laugh. Speaking mainly to a crowd concerned with making MOst GOod choices a part of their decision making, it is quite comforting to be reminded of other’s failures in the pursuit of kindness.
It is impressive to watch one woman boldly narrate her journey in the pursuit of human rights, animals rights, and environmental advocacy. Her educating does not focus entirely on convincing us that vengeance and driving gas guzzling cars are bad. Instead she helps teach us that a MOGO lifestyle is a process. As many of us on the path to consciousness and advocacy can relate, we must realize our mistakes and correct them in order to progress. She even goes so far as to confess her deep, deep obsession with William Shatner and an incident in which she admits, “He was a little alarmed.” Her personal confessions are an invitation for all to join in the cleansing process of advocacy and compassion.
Zoe puts it well when she reminds us that there are people, systems, and attitudes that make understanding and compassion challenging! Humorous stories of teenage “vindictive acts of rage and revenge” are juxtaposed with inspirational comments on her personal initiatives towards MOGO. Her pride in vengeance resonates in you as deeply as her description of the horrendous conditions of veal and egg production.
Zoe’s intentionality with making MOGO choices is complemented well by her courage to call herself out on her own faults. The honesty is refreshing and the comedy is relaxing. Her performance is a great reminder that kindness is the root of activism, not judging people’s mistakes. Her vision of education is more fun than you have ever probably experienced. Rather than the traditional schooling values focusing on preparing you to compete in a global economy, she invites you to enter a world of learning focused on teaching interconnected rights and problem solving.