Theater Review – RUINED

Ruined2

5 stars

Written and posted by Tirinda Hixon

Last night, I went to see the Pulitzer Prize winning play, RUINED.  The play, written by playwright Lynn Nottage and directed by Kate Whoriskey, was one of the most riveting pieces of work I’ve seen in a long time!  Now, some may think I’m biased for this post because Lynn has been my good neighbor for all of my life.  However, that is not the case.  RUINED honestly touched my heart in unimaginable ways.  Lynn wrote the hell out of this play…real talk.

I first learned of RUINED while casually listening to NPR’s Tell Me More show.  Lynn and actress Saidah Arrika Ekulona (Mama Nadi), were on the show to discuss the play, which captured the lives of Congolese women struggling to survive in the midst of a civil war…I was intrigued.

The story is set in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and follows the lives of four women living in a brothel, ran by Mama Nadi, located dead-smack in the middle of a brewing civil war.  The women have faced atrocities such as rape, abduction and brutality by male soldiers. One of the worst of all, being raped with a bayonet, unable to have sex again…ruined.  Mama Nadi, an astute businesswoman, provides shelter for these women, but at a price.  The women are lead to believe that Mama Nadi’s place is a safe haven,  one for protection, since the acts of war has done nothing but destroy their villages, tore apart their families and brought shame to themselves.  I mean, where else could they go?!  The women rationalize that whoring and appeasing these vile soldiers is far better than encountering them on the other side…out in “the bush”, where they would most likely continue to experience the mayhem they had before. It is because of this sad reality that they adapt.  The internal struggles of all these characters affected me in ways I didn’t think possible, as a woman, it was something I needed to see. 

All in all, RUINED was captivating! I laughed. I cried. I looked away at intense moments. I held my breath in shock and sometimes, anger.  It was all that I needed.  I recommend that everyone see this play. It is now playing, through June 28, 2009 at The Manhattan Theater Club.

The Brooklyn Critic!

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