Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
May 22nd
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Unspoken Truths

blog lynnNottageUCSC’s African-American Theater Arts Troupe presents meaty play about women in the war-torn Congo

In the 2009 Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Ruined,” by Lynn Nottage, Mama Nadi runs a whorehouse deep in the heart of a modern day, civil war-torn Congo. There, young women depend on Mama Nadi for more than just a job—in the fractured country where gunfire rattles the air and rape is common practice, Mama represents a chance for survival.

The story—reproduced Feb. 24-26 by the UC Santa Cruz African-American Theater Arts Troupe at Second Stage Theater—is a frank and frightening, but ultimately hopeful, portrayal of the gut-wrenching atrocities occurring in the Congo, and the incredible resilience of the women who endure it.

“It definitely brings about the idea that life is not guaranteed for everybody around the world—that people have to struggle just to maintain their sanity, let alone their survival,” explains actor Amanuel Zeryihun, who plays Christian, the poetry-spouting peddler who supplies Mama with such wares as American whiskey, lipstick, and women.

“It’s heartbreaking to see that these women are these battlegrounds,” adds actor Jessica Jones, who plays Mama Nadi. “Even though [the war] is so drastic, and people are saying it’s like World War III, it’s silent. Nobody is talking about it and that’s the problem.”

Both the actors and crew work hard to give voice to the struggle of the unheard by presenting an engaging play that provides insight into a hardly explored subject.

“For the person who has never been exposed to the ideas of war in the Congo, and war in any other country aside from the Congo, it definitely gives you the idea that ‘Wow, things are really happening,’” says Zeryihun.

Though complete with African accents, beautiful singing, and humorous drunken banter from stumbling bar patrons, director Don Williams says the play’s primary focus is on the struggle and survival of women in a society where they are often victimized.

“Being ‘ruined’ in this particular play refers to the women who have been de-veiled, torn apart from the inside out, where the joy and movement from living life has been taken from them,” explains Williams.

However, the play is as much about pain, as it is about love, strength, and the characters’ compelling relationships.

“Nothing has been changed [from the original script],” says Williams. “I value the playwright. They were impregnated with that word and they gave birth. And my job as a director is to make sure that the baby walks and talks and cries and smiles and laughs like it’s supposed to.”

One of the ways Williams and his cast are able to tackle such a sensitive subject, is by meeting in a circle before each rehearsal to discuss their thoughts and connect with one another.

“In doing this play, we have to go through this whole maze of shock and disbelief together,” Williams says. “The play should make you kind of pinch yourself or break out a tissue … but there are some stories that have to be told.”


“Ruined” runs Feb. 24-26 at UCSC’s Second Stage Theater, 1156 High St., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $15/General, $12/Seniors & Students, No Cover/UCSC Students. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 459-2159, or visit santacruztickets.com.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Gate Openers

Up-and-coming artists like Ryan Bingham are a great reason to show up early to the Santa Cruz American Music Festival

 

Gemini Sun, Pentecost, Shavuot—Enlightenment and Gladness

As the sun enters Gemini on Sunday, sign of speaking, communication, thinking, inter-relations, writing and understanding languages, the feast days of Pentecost & Shavuot (Catholic and Jewish festivals) occur. During Pentecost’s 50 days after Easter, tongues of fire appear above the heads of the disciples, providing them with the ability to understand all languages and all feelings hidden in the minds and hearts of humanity. It’s recorded that Pentecost began with a loud noise, which happened in an upper room (signifying the mind). The Christ (World Teacher) told his disciples (after his ascension) when encountering a man at a well carrying a water pot (signs for Age of Aquarius) to follow him to an upper room. There, the Holy Spirit (Ray 3 of Divine Intelligence) would overshadow them, expand their minds, give them courage and enable them to teach throughout the world, speaking all languages and thus able to minister to the true needs of a “seeking” humanity. Pentecost (50 days, pentagram, Ray 5, Venus, concrete and scientific knowledge, the Ray of Aquarius) sounds dramatic, impressive and scary: The loud noise, a thunderous rush of wind and then “tongues of fire” above the heads of each disciple (men and women). Fire has purpose. It purifies, disintegrates, purges, transforms and liberates (frees) us from the past. This was the Holy Spirit (Ray 3, love and wisdom) being received by the disciples, so they would teach in the world and inform humanity of the Messiah (Christ), who initiated the new age (Pisces) and gave humanity the new law (adding to the 10 Commandments of the Aries Age) to Love (Ray 2) one another. Note: Gemini is also Ray 2. Shavuot is the Jewish Festival of Gladness, the First Fruits Festival celebrating the giving of the 10 Commandments to Moses as the Aries Age was initiated. Thus, we have two developmental stages here, Jewish festival of the Old Testament. Pentecost of the New Testament. We have gladness, integrating both.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Off Her Meds

Kristin Wiig runs wild—and transcends her sketch comedy roots—as a truly strange character ‘Welcome to Me’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Flats Bistro

Pizza with an artisan twist comes to Aptos Beach

 

What’s your take on Santa Cruz locals?

Santa Cruz locals are really friendly once you know them. I think a lot of them have a hard time leaving, and I would too. Ryan Carle, Santa Cruz, Biologist

 

Soquel Vineyards

If Soquel Vineyards partners Peter and Paul Bargetto and Jon Morgan were walking down the street wearing their winning wine competition medals, you’d hear them coming from a mile away. This year was particularly rewarding for the Bargettos and Morgan—they won two Double Gold Medals and five Gold Medals at January’s San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

 

Enlightened Flavors

Squash & Blossom’s artisanal alternative-flour delights, beet kvass from Cafe Ivéta, and the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival