The human spirit defies the cruel reality of war at Kennedy Theatre

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Kevin C.K. Berg, (808) 956-2598
Director of Publicity, Kennedy Theatre
Posted: Aug 22, 2014

Mama Nadi (Lillian Jones) prepares Sophie (Denali Lukacinsky) for work in the brothel.
Mama Nadi (Lillian Jones) prepares Sophie (Denali Lukacinsky) for work in the brothel.

The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s Department of Theatre and Dance will present Lynn Nottage’s play, “Ruined,” in the Earle Ernst Lab Theatre.  Performances will take place September 17, 18, 19 and 20 at 8 p.m., and September 21 at 2 p.m.; a free post-show chat will be held with the cast and director on Friday, September 19. The production marks the show’s Hawaiʻi premiere and will serve as director Troy M. Apostol’s MFA thesis presentation.

Apostol’s contribution to the Hawaiʻi theater scene extends far beyond Kennedy Theatre. In addition to pursuing his MFA at the Department of Theatre and Dance, he has performed with Mānoa Valley Theatre and Honolulu Theatre for Youth, written for Kumu Kahua Theatre, and directed for Hawai‘i Shakespeare Festival. Apostol has received the Lisa Toishigawa Inouye Award for Excellence in Playwriting from UHM. He is currently an advisory board member at Playbuilders and the Director of Hitting the Stage, Hawai‘i’s first dedicated theater news and reviews website.

Although no stranger to Nottage’s work, Apostol has had a difficult time getting it produced until now. When asked why he chose this play at this time, Apostol said that he was "blown away by its rawness and power. The backdrop of the play, the evils that men inflict upon women, is all around us in today’s culture." Certainly the piece is full of rawness and power that Apostol hopes will spur discussion about men/women relationships with respect to sexual violence. He also emphasizes that the play is meant for a more mature audience, capable of taking part in this dialogue.

The story of Ruined takes place in the present day Democratic Republic of Congo, around the brothel and bar of Mama Nadi (played by Lillian Jones), in a small mining town. Here government soldiers and guerrilla rebels alike rest between attacks and operations, though never at the same time, soothed by cold beers and warm women. The tenuous balance is disrupted by the addition of two working girls brought by Christian (played by Quantae Love), a travelling salesman, Sophie (played by Denali Lukacinsky), a young woman who has been physically “ruined” by a horrific sexual assault, and Salima (played by Alexis Harvey), who has been banished from her village due to her being “unclean.” This additional burden is compounded by the fact that a large deposit of Coltan, a necessary material to digital devices such as cell phones, has been found nearby, causing a flood of civilians and militia hoping to strike it rich. How will Mama Nadi keep the peace and protect her new wards, when men are willing to kill for a fistful of dirt?

Tickets for Ruined are available online at starting September 15, by phone at (808) 944-2697, at participating outlets, and at the Kennedy Theatre box office.  The box office is open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, with extended hours on performance dates.  Prices are $18 for general admission; $16 for seniors / military / UH faculty and staff; $13 for students; and $8 for UHM students with validated Fall 2014 UHM photo IDs.  Ticket prices include all service fees.

For further information, please visit, or call the theater at (808) 956-7655.  For disability access, please call the theater.