Huntington Theater Co Presents RUINED
The Huntington Theatre Company continues its 29th season with Ruined by Lynn Nottage (Intimate Apparel, Crumbs from the Table of Joy), directed by South Africa native Liesl Tommy. The ensemble cast features Tonye Patano (Showtime's "Weeds") as Mama Nadi. Winner of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Ruined was extended multiple times Off Broadway and earned an Obie Award and the Lucille Lortel, New York Drama Critics' Circle, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Play (Manhattan Theatre Club, Goodman Theatre). Ruined is a co-production with La Jolla Playhouse and Berkeley Repertory Theatre.
In 2004, Nottage traveled to East Africa to interview Congolese women fleeing the armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). "I was fueled by my desire to tell the story of war, but through the eyes of women, who as we know rarely start conflicts but inevitably find themselves right smack in the middle of them," explains Nottage. "I was interested in giving voice and audience to African women living in The Shadows of war. I knew their stories weren't being heard. I wanted to understand who they were beyond their status as victims. I was surprised by the number of women who readily wanted to share their stories, and by the end of the interviews, I realized that a war was being fought over the bodies of women. Rape was being used as a weapon to punish and destroy communities."
In Ruined, savvy business woman Mama Nadi knows how to survive in the midst of the Congo civil war: don't take sides. She sells beers, and girls at her bar and brothel to any man who'll leave his gun at the door, shrewdly keeping the peace among the warring sides. Miners, merchants, and government and rebel soldiers drink, dance, and choose from her women, many "ruined" by rape and torture before they were pressed into prostitution. The good-time atmosphere of the canteen and Mama Nadi's sharp wits can't always protect her and her girls, but their courage, humor, and hope live on as they seek a path to the future in this gripping drama.
Playwright Lynn Nottage's Pulitzer Prize-winning play Ruined premiered in London at The Almeida Theatre in April 2010 and is touring several U.S. regional theatres in 2010-2011. Other plays include Intimate Apparel (New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Play; Roundabout Theatre Company, South Coast Repertory); Fabulation, or The Re-Education of Undine (Obie Award; Playwrights Horizons, London's Tricycle Theatre); Crumbs from the Table of Joy; Las Meninas; Mud, River, Stone; Por'knockers; and POOF!. Ms. Nottages's many honors include the 2010 Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, the Dramatists Guild Hull-Warriner Award, the inaugural Horton Foote Prize for Outstanding New American Play (Ruined), the 2007 MacArthur Foundation "Genius Grant," the National Black Theatre Festival's August Wilson Playwriting Award, the 2005 Guggenheim Grant for Playwriting, and the 2004 PEN/Laura Pels Award for Drama. She is a graduate oF Brown University and the Yale School of Drama.
Director Liesl Tommy has recent credits that include Peggy Pickett Sees the Face of God by Roland Schimmelpfennig (world premiere, Luminato Festival/Volcano Theatre); Ruined by Lynn Nottage (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); Eclipsed by Danai Gurira (world premiere, Yale Rep, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, McCarter Theatre); Angela's Mixtape by Eisa Davis (world premiere, Synchronicity Performance Group, New Georges); The Good Negro by Tracey Scott Wilson (world premiere, The Public Theater/NYSF, Sundance Theatre Institute, Dallas Theater Center); A History of Light by Eisa Davis (world premiere, Contemporary American Theatre Festival); Yankee Tavern and Stick Fly (CATF); A Christmas Carol (Trinity Repertory Company); In the Continuum (Playmakers Repertory Company); Flight (City Theatre); A Stone's Throw by Lynn Nottage (world premiere, Women's Project); and Bus and Family Ties (Cristian Panaite Play Company) for the Romania Kiss Me! Festival. Ms. Tommy was awarded the NEA/TCG Directors Grant and the New York Theatre Workshop Casting/Directing Fellowship and is a New York Theatre Workshop Usual Suspect. She has also been a guest director and teacher at The Juilliard School, Trinity Rep/Brown University's M.F.A. Directing and Acting Program, and NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. She is a native of Cape Town, South Africa.
"The first time I saw Ruined, I was simply unable to hold back tears," says Artistic Director Peter DuBois. "Lynn Nottage has created an astonishing, enduring piece of writing that should be seen by everyone. The play is unflinching, emotionally cathartic, and absolutely revelatory."