Friday, December 11, 2009

SOB's Favorite Shows Of The Noughties: #17 - Ruined

SOB's Favorite Shows Of The Noughties: #17 - Ruined (2009, New York City Center Stage I, Manhattan Theatre Club, New York, NY)

Introduction: Hard as it is to comprehend that we're already 119 months into this "new" millennium, we are fast approaching the end of its first decade. While we have yet to agree on what exactly we should call the '00s, I'll take a cue from the fine folks at The Times of London and the BBC and henceforth refer to them at the Noughties.

With that small introduction, I'm pleased to present my list of plays and musicals that wowed me the most during that time. Out of the hundreds and hundreds of shows I've seen over the last ten years, I give you my countdown of my 25 personal favorite shows of the Noughties.

It wasn't until the second act of Lynn Nottage's devastatingly exceptional Ruined that we learned the Congolese people's secret for surviving recurring civil wars. According to one central character, they must simply pretend to ignore the inhumanity all around them. But Ruined was much too excellent to ignore as its Pulitzer Prize underscored.

What Nottage and director Kate Whoriskey achieved with this heartstopping production was nothing short of monumental. They skillfully succeeded in placing many a human face on those who are grossly dehumanized even if it ranks as one of the most difficult plays I ever sat through.

Nottage created some of the year's most remarkable female roles, including a madame named Mama Nadi (a superb Portia) whose brothel doors are open to military officials and rebels alike. Nottage endowed each of her central characters with a breathtaking resilience, and a surprising degree of good humor. Ultimately, they demonstrated grace and resolve in their desperate attempts to rise above it all.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

In keeping with the new Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations that unfairly discriminate against bloggers, who are now required by law to disclose when they have received anything of value they might write about, please note that I have received nothing of value in exchange for this post. I paid my own way for this performance.


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