Friday, January 21, 2011


Photo from Obsidian Theatre Company
Ruined. Maybe it was a little ominous sounding for a festive night out with Adventure Girl to celebrate Tender Heart's  birthday. But needless to say we happily traipsed into Toronto to see  Obsidian Theatre's production of Ruined. I had been anticipating seeing this play for almost a year but I wasn't sure how much my gal pals knew about the subject of the story. A few hours before we were scheduled to meet, I cut and pasted some information about fistula and the Panzi Hospital into an email and sent it off to them.

The play is set in a humble shack of a bar in a small mining town in the Congo. Women rule the stage in this production and from the first moment the lights dropped and the drumming began, my heart pounded just a little quicker. From our second row seats in the intimate theatre we sat - eyes transfixed on the mosaic, textures and shades of fierce femininity that unfolded  - mesmerized by the slow, deliberate reveal. There were moments of shock and awe - mentions of  ways in which women have been, and are violated - so horrific that the air is sucked from your lungs when you heard the words. The pit of anxiety that is formed from the first appearance of the shunned, shattered girls in tattered rags continues to swell with each layer of conflict and hopelessness. We learn what "ruined" means ... and how these violent crimes and acts of war raged upon women's bodies are intended to break the spirit and destroy the very fabric of the family and community.

As I watched, the whole while trying to contain the waterworks, my mind drifted to my Sudan sister from Women for Women International and to the horrors she has experienced. Hurts felt by our sisters are felt by all women. There is a kindred thread that binds us together.Ruined is a story of the phoenix rising from ashes with a display of unfailing human resilience that is blinding. Or maybe it was those tears ....

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