New York Daily News

Fallen women fight for survival in 'Ruined'

RUINED. Through March 29. MTC, 131 W. 55th St. Tickets: $75 (212) 581-1212

Lynn Nottage’s previous plays “Intimate Apparel” and “Fabulation” were telling portraits of African-American women in New York. In her stirring and sometimes startling new work, “Ruined,” the Brooklyn writer casts her gaze at the Democratic Republic of the Congo and to young women brutalized in its bloody civil war.

New York Newsday

Review: 'Ruined'


'Love is an unnecessary burden for people like us," says Mama Nadi, the shrewd, irrepressible proprietor of a rain forest bar and whorehouse amid the unfathomably, endlessly brutal war in the Congo. Her inventory of women is the flesh that remains after rival militias and government brutes have perfected the use of rape as a deeply personal, social and political weapon of war. The butchers – one indistinguishable from the next – also are her customers.,0,7712387.story

New York Post 


IN "Ruined," Lynn Nottage's devastating new play set in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo, the title takes on a freshly horrifying meaning that will forever sear itself onto your brain.

The central character of this co-production between the Manhattan Theatre Club and Chicago's Goodman Theatre is the indomitable Mama Nadi (Saidah Arrika Ekulona), the owner of a brothel/bar in a remote mining town. Catering to the ragtag soldiers whose allegiances are forever changing, she's a born survivor who is clearly inspired by Bertolt Brecht's similarly afflicted Mother Courage. 

The New York Times

War’s Terrors, Through a Brothel Window


Patrons are asked to leave their bullets at the bar in the Congolese brothel that is the setting for “Ruined,” the strong and absorbing new play by Lynn Nottage at the Manhattan Theater Club. Mama Nadi (Saidah Arrika Ekulona) runs a cozy little whorehouse — one of the cleanest and safest places in the area — and she’s determined to keep it that way. That means no bullets, no brawling, no unwashed hands and no talk of the civil war being waged in the rain forest outside.

Village Voice

Ruined's Women Face a Congo Civil War; Shipwrecked!'s Hero Wrestles with His Imagination

By Michael Feingold

By Lynn Nottage
Manhattan Theater Club
131 West 55th Street, 212-581-1212

Shipwrecked! An Entertainment: The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont (As Told by Himself)
By Donald Margulies
Primary Stages at 59E59 Theaters
59 East 59th Street, 212-279-4200

"Do you have a smile?" the madam asks her new employee. "Yes," the girl answers softly, but she doesn't display it. So begins the journey into the deepest, darkest disquietude that is Lynn Nottage's remarkable new play, Ruined, now at MTC in a production from Chicago's Goodman Theater. The place is a mining town in the Democratic Republic of Congo, once the Belgian Congo and on its way to being anybody's Congo, cracking apart as rival factions of rebels battle official and semi-official militias. The white colonists, other than missionaries, have mostly fled back to Belgium. The pygmies of the Ituri Forest have virtually vanished, their language kept alive only by a parrot, slumbering under its cloth cage cover at the back of Mama Nadi's bar, where the liquor supply arrives erratically and the girls, if you don't use a condom, may give you something you didn't bargain for.

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