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Invictus Theatre Company Announces RUINED Cast And Team


RUINED, a drama originally commissioned by the Goodman Theatre, where it premiered in 2008, is a story of women caught in a civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Invictus Theatre Company Announces RUINED Cast And Team

Invictus Theatre Company today announced the full cast and production team for its production of Lynn Nottage's Pulitzer Prize-winning RUINED. Ebby Offord will direct the play, which will preview from February 17 to 20, in advance of the press opening on Monday, February 21, 2022, at 7:00 pm. Performances will be in their new home venue - the Reginald Vaughn Theatre at 1106 W. Thorndale Avenue in Edgewater (the space formerly known as The Frontier). RUINED will be directed by Ebby Offord, a 2019 graduate of Washington University in St. Louis who has studied at Shakespeare's Globe in London and appeared as Ophelia in Invictus's fall 2021 production of HAMLET.

RUINED, a drama originally commissioned by The Goodman Theatre, where it premiered in 2008, is a story of women caught in a civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. They find a refuge of sorts with Mama Nadi, a brothel owner who takes victims of sexual violence into her establishment. There, she profits from them but also protects them from the brutality of the world outside her doors.

Leading Offord's cast as Mama Nadi will be Tekeisha Yelton Hunter. Hunter earned raves for her performance of the title character in Invictus's 2020 live stream of "NIGHT MOTHER, as did Courtney Gardner, who played the daughter in that two-character play. Gardner will appear in RUINED as Salima, who along with Sophie (Jenise Sheppard) and Josephine (Jemima Charles), are three of the girls taken in by Mama Nadi. The cast will also include Javier Carmona (Mr. Harari), Tamarus Harvell (Fortune), Barry Irving (Simon), Stanley King (Christian), Edward Neequaye (Osembenga), Brandon Boler (Kisembe), and Kejaun Darby (Ensemble). Understudies are Jasmine Robertson (Salima, Sophie), Simmery Branch (Josephine), Barry Irving (Christian), Todd Douglas (Simon, Fortune, Ensemble), Kejuan Darby (Osembenga, Kisembe), and Jorge Salas (Mr. Harari).

The production team for RUINED includes Rueben Echoles (Costume Designer), Kevin Rolfs (Set Designer), Levi Wilkins (Lighting Designer), Warren Levon (Sound Designer), Lana Whittington (Fight/Intimacy Designer), Ian R. Q. Slater (Dialect Coach), Jessica Minogue (Stage Manager), Todd Faulstich (Production Manager), Marquecia Jordan (Assistant Costume Designer and Wardrobe Supervisor), and Arlicia McClain (Assistant Director). Charles Askenaizer is Invictus' Artistic Director.

Offord says RUINED is "a reminder that the decades of violent turmoil in the Congo and other regions of Sub-Saharan Africa have anything but subsided. War is still being waged on women's bodies. Black women especially. Therefore, their stories must continue to be told."

VARIETY said RUINED "takes us inside an unthinkable reality and into the heads of victims and perpetrators to create a full-immersion drama of shocking complexity and moral ambiguity." The CHICAGO TRIBUNE praised it as "Sincere, passionate, courageous and acutely argued... a remarkable theatrical accomplishment...In the hands of this talented playwright, what might have been a predictable political polemic instead emerges as a richly stirring and complex drama that even includes generous doses of humor."

Invictus Theatre Company has, over its five-year history, built a reputation for intimate and honest interpretations of classics with fidelity to the original texts and close attention to character development.

Tickets for RUINED are available now at RUINED will also participate and offer tickets as part of Chicago Theatre Week, a celebration of Chicago's world-class theatre scene now in its 10th year that will run from February 17-27, 2022.


All actors have been vaccinated. All audience members are required to show proof of vaccination at the door and to wear masks throughout the performance.

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