Santa Cruz Good Times

Wednesday
Mar 04th
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

 

Green Swell

Local surfboard company greens up the industry with an eco-conscious business model

 

Two Fish Bound by a Golden Cord

Until March 20, (Spring Equinox), Earth and her kingdoms (mineral, plant, animal, human) experience the influence of Pisces, sign of the World Savior. Whereas the task of Aquarius is as world server, the Pisces task is saving the world—tasks given to the two fishes. Pisces never really enters matter, and as the last sign of the zodiac includes all the signs. During Pisces, having gathered all the gifts of the previous 11 signs, it is a good time to prepare for new initiating plans when Aries (sign of beginnings) begins. No wonder Pisces, like Scorpio, is so difficult (both are ruled by Pluto, planet of death, new life, regeneration, transformations). Both signs (with Scorpio drowning in dark and deep waters) find life on Earth a hardship, disorienting (from the spiritual perspective), at times feeling betrayed. Life is a paradox, especially for Pisces. Each zodiacal sign represents and distributes a different phase and facet (12) of the Soul’s diamond light, Pisces is the “Light of Life itself, ending forever the darkness of matter.” It takes two fish to complete this work (creating eventually an extraordinary human being). One fish turned toward the material world (in order to understand matter), the other fish toward the heavenly world. Around the two fish is a silvery cord binding them together. The two fish are forever bound until all of humanity is redeemed (lifted up into the Light). This is the dedication of all world saviors (Buddha, Christ, the NGWS). Thus the sacrifice and suffering experienced by Pisces. Knowing these things about Pisces, let us help them all we can. Sometimes all of humanity is Pisces.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Seal Change

Celtic selkie lore comes alive in dazzling ‘Song of the Sea’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Teresa’s Gourmet Foods

New owners for Santa Cruz’s leading local salsa company

 

What defines a good dive bar?

It’s slightly dirty, and they serve cheap drinks. Stella Celeste, Santa Cruz, Barrista

 

Picchetti Winery

After enjoying its contents, I couldn’t throw away the empty bottle of Picchetti Winery’s Red Table Wine.

 

Happy Birthday, Manny

Manuel’s turns 50, farmers market steel head pairs with Pinot, and a Birichino Malvasia