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."
The cast features:
· Oberon K.A. Adjepong (Like I Say and Cellophane at The Flea Theater) as Christian,
· Pascale Armand (Breath, Boom at Playwrights Horizons) as Salima,
· Jason Bowen (Prelude to a Kiss and A Civil War Christmas at the Huntington) as Fortune,
· Carla Duran (110 in the Shade on Broadway) as Sophie,
· Wendell Franklin (Speak Truth to Power with Culture Project) as Jerome,
· Zainab Jah (Eclipsed at Yale Repertory Theatre) as Josephine,
· Joseph Kamal (Dinner at Eight on Broadway/Lincoln Center Theater) as Mr. Harari,
· Adesoji Odukogbe (former lead guitarist for Fela Anikulapo Kuti) as Musician 2,
· Kola Ogundiran (The Godbotherers at 59E59 Street Theater) as Laurent,
· Okieriete Onaodowan (Neighbors at The Public Theater/NYSF) as Simon,
· Tonye Patano (Showtime's "Weeds," Neighbors at The Public Theater/NYSF) as Mama Nadi,
· AdrIan Roberts (A Raisin in the Sun at the Huntington) as Commander Osembenga, and
· Alvin Terry (The Emancipation of Mandy and Miz Ellie with Boston's Company One) as Musician 1.
The creative team for Ruined includes choreography by Randy Duncan (Ruined at Goodman Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club), scenic design by Clint Ramos (After the Revolution at Playwrights Horizons), costume design by Kathleen Geldard (Eclipsed at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company), lighting design by Lap Chi Chu (The Good Negro at The Public Theater/NYSF), and original music, sound design, and musical direction by Broken Chord Collective (Manhattan Theatre Club, Second Stage Theatre). Production stage manager is Anjee Nero; stage manager is Leslie Sears.
The Huntington's Grand Patron is Boston University. The 2010-2011 Season Sponsor is J. David Wimberly.
CRITICAL ACCLAIM FOR 'RUINED'
"Sincere, passionate, courageous and acutely argued, Ruined is a remarkable theatrical accomplishment."
- Chicago Tribune
"A work that speaks eloquently of the monstrous acts bred by war, and of the courage and compromises required to survive them." - Variety
"Ruined leaves no doubt that the author is one of the best playwrights that we have." - Wall Street Journal
CRITICAL ACCLAIM FOR THIS PRODUCTION
"The [La Jolla Playhouse/Huntington Theatre Company/Berkeley Rep] production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama gives full force to Nottage's tale. "Ruined" is a propulsive, engrossing story, and director Liesl Tommy's music-laced staging teases out the piece's redemptive spirit, its defiant flashes of humor, and its surprising sense of romance among the ruins. In the show's most searing moments, the impact is unmistakable.
"The potent Tonye Patano (a star of TV's "Weeds") gives Mama a gloss of warm hospitality that quickly can turn bristling and officious - long-festering defenses against the pain she's seen. As Josephine, Zainab Jah conveys oceans of rage through her chillingly dead expression; Pascal Armand has one of the play's most quietly arresting moments as Salima, and Carla Duren sings with haunting beauty as the delicate but unbowed Sophie."
- San Diego Union-Tribune
"A brilliant staging of an important, relevant play: Theater-lovers could hardly ask for more." -- North County Times
ABOUT THE HUNTINGTON
The Huntington Theatre Company, in residence at Boston University, is Boston's largest professional theatre company. Under the direction of Artistic Director Peter DuBois and Managing Director Michael Maso, the Huntington creates seven new productions each season featuring world-class theatre artists from Boston and Broadway and the most promising new talent. The Huntington has transferred over a dozen of these productions to Broadway, including recent favorites Noël Coward's Present Laughter and Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps. The Huntington also runs nationally renowned programs in education and new play development, and serves the local theatre community through its operation of the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, which the Huntington built in 2004.
The Calderwood Pavilion, which includes the 370-seat Wimberly Theatre and the 200-seat Roberts Studio Theatre, houses most of the Huntington's new works activities and complements its 890-seat, Broadway-style main stage, the Boston University Theatre. The Huntington provides the first-class facilities and audience services of the Calderwood Pavilion to dozens of organizations each year, including some of Boston's most exciting small and mid-sized theatre companies, at significantly subsidized rates.
As a national leader in the development of new plays, the Huntington has produced more than 50 New England, American, or world premieres to date, with two world premieres scheduled for the 2010-11 Season. The Huntington's acclaimed education programs have served hundreds of thousands of middle school and high school students since 1982, and bring theatre to the Deaf and blind communities, the elderly, and other underserved populations in the Greater Boston area.
The Huntington was founded in 1982 by Boston University and separately incorporated as an independent non-profit in 1986. Its two prior artistic leaders were Peter Altman, (1982-2000) and Nicholas Martin (2000-2008). For more information, visit huntingtontheatre.org.