Photo courtesy of kevinberne.com
Okay, so, I’d heard nothing but good things about Lynn Nottage’s Ruined back when it was winning the Pulitzer Prize. But, when I went to see the current production at Berkeley Rep, I still had that little voice in the back of my head that said, “It won the Pulitzer Prize; it’s probably politically correct and one of those ‘important’ plays that everyone praises because of the subject matter but ignores the fact that it’s preachy and dull.” Because the little voice in my head speaks in long, drawn-out sentences and overuses semicolons.
Well, the little voice in my head is apparently even less qualified to be a critic than I am, and I start every one of my posts with a stupid disclaimer about how I’m not a critic, so that’s saying something.
So I don’t know, what can I say that hasn’t been said already? Some of the notes I made to myself afterwards, when thinking I might try to do more than a typical “this is awesome” kind of post, included words like “explosive” and “stunning” and “surprising” and “unexpected.” The last two because the play’s about the horrors of the Congo and yet the story has moments that are funny and hopeful and beautiful and transcendent.
The acting in this particular production is amazing; I’m pretty sure that’s what the whole “stunning” thing was about, from Tonye Patano (Heylia James on Weeds!) and Oberon K.A. Adjepong to Zainab Jah, Carla Duren and Pascale Armand, and really the whole entire cast.
I didn’t actually write down that it’s “highly recommended” and a “must-see,” but rest assured that it is and it is. You’ve got about a month; information is at berkeleyrep.org.