Five Reasons To See Ruined at GableStage

Categories: Stage
George Schiavone
The cast of Ruined.
Next weekend, GableStage will open its long-awaited production of Lynn Nottage's Ruined, the final play of its 2012-2013 season. Artistic Director Joseph Adler had been wanting to stage the acclaimed play since he saw its New York debut in 2009. Adler spoke to New Times about his affection for the play, its back story, its large cast, and why it's important to not judge this book by its bleak cover.

From our conversation, here are the five best reasons to see Ruined.
5. Ruined continues to grow in relevance.
The play is set in the present-day Democratic Republic of Congo, where Mama Nadi, a good-natured madam, tries to run a brothel shielded from the realities of the civil war ensuing outside her doors. The play explores the ravaging effect of war and the capitalistic greed that has led to the nearby plundering of coltan, the mineral that powers our cell phones.

Adler: "So it's about capitalism at its worst and international business raping the minds and the resources of countries like the Congo. And then tribalism ensues, literally raping the women ... and the men. There's nothing being done about it since the year the play was produced. Not one new thing has been done to try to bring this to a halt."

4. Ruined makes for the largest cast GableStage has ever assembled.
Furthermore, 11 of the 12 members in the sprawling cast of Ruined are nonwhite, making the play a showcase for the cultural diversity of the South Florida acting community. The cast includes several actors familiar to GableStage audiences, including Lela Elam and Marckenson Charles, who have both won Carbonell Awards at GableStage. Also look out for Renata Eastlick, who appeared in Intimate Apparel; Sheaun McKinney, who shined in Brothers Size; Robert Strain, of Farragut North; and Jade Wheeler, from the theater's most recent production, Race.

Adler: "I wouldn't even think about doing a play that required this many actors if I didn't think they were available to me right here in South Florida. I think they rival the cast of any production that's been done of this play anywhere."

Location Info


GableStage at the Biltmore

1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables, FL

Category: General

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Lela Elam won the Best Actress Award for "Intimate Apparel" at Gabel Stage!


I've saw "Ruined" at Fell's Point Corner Theatre (in Baltimore). It IS an excellent play (**** out of 5), and a real challenge for the actors (10 non-white actors in the production I saw). 


There is NOTHING upbeat, heartwarming or inspiring about this play. We get VERY graphic desciptions of killings (that occur off-stage), and equally graphic depictions of how lives are literally "ruined." Despite one or two comic scenes, this play WILL leave you feeling helpless and depressed and likely shaken when the lights come up again. 


 @jacobtaylor Perhaps it was the particular production that you saw, but I saw "Ruined" at the Manhattan Theatre Club in NYC and Arena Stage in Washington, DC and both production were fantastic. It is a play that is about REAL issues that are going on in the Congo even today. There are moments in which the characters talk about graphic descriptions, but in both productions I saw the directors where able to find several moments in which we see joy, laugher, pain, survival, struggle and hope. It's a delicate balance.


Theatre is an art that is there to make you THINK. "Ruined" is a thought provoking play that should have it's audiences thinking and chatting about issues and life etc. Sometimes you will leave laughing from a play, sometimes you will leave uncomfortable, but in a good way because the play made you think, chat, ask questions, want to take action. 


Overall, I don't think people will leave helpless and depressed. If anything, they will leave aware, educated, thought provoked, informed and with a desire to make a stand and perhaps even motivated to help the people of Congo or at least make others aware of what is going on. Or just enjoy a night at the theatre!


I've seen several plays at GableStage and I am extremely excited to see another regional production of this show. The direction is as well stellar and they always seem to pick the best actors. I have yet to see something there I didn't enjoy.


So to all, GO SEE RUINED. 

-Tim Cabral

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