Art Works Podcast: Charles Randolph-Wright
This week’s podcast features Charles Randolph-Wright, director of Arena Stage's current production of Ruined, which recently opened to dazzling reviews in Washington D.C. Since its opening at the Goodman Theater in Chicago, Lynn Nottage’s play has been astounding critics and audiences alike, winning the Pulitzer Prize in 2009 among other awards. Based on interviews that Nottage conducted in Africa, Ruined takes place in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and focuses on women who suffer rape when it is used as a weapon of war. Mama Nadi runs a brothel filled with women who had been gang-raped by soldiers and then rejected by their families. It’s a powerful piece of theater, and director Charles Randolph-Wright felt a keen sense of responsibility to honor the play as written by Lynn Nottage while bringing it to life; to convey the spirit of the actual women who suffered this brutality; and to protect the actors who portray them and their brutalizers. Seeing the play as life-affirming, he wanted joy as well as tragedy to be present on the stage. This production of Ruined has been a life-changing experience for the company and himself, and one that has affirmed his belief in the power of theater.