Director Tom Stell admits that Ruined, the latest show by Obsidian Art Space, isn’t a cheerful story. Four women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, raped during the unrest of the civil war there, are shunned by fellow villagers. The four eventually find refuge in a brothel under the protection of madame Mama Nadi. Sexual assault survivors are considered to be ruined, no longer acceptable in normal society in the Congo, Stell tells us. “Ruined women are rejected by villagers because of fear that the women’s bad luck will rub off on other people.”

A 2009 Pulitzer Prize winner, Ruined is a difficult but important story, Stell says. “We aren’t going to perform lighthearted comedies all the time. This is a great play; it shows these women not as victims but as survivors who are trying to make sense of the crazy world around them.”

Stell says the cast members spent time during the rehearsal process discussing their own experiences with abuse and rejection. “You don’t have to go through the exact same thing to understand these women, to understand how strong and resilient they are.”

8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. March 16. Through March 22. 3522 White Oak. For information, call 832-889-7837 or visit $20.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sat., March 22, 2 p.m. Starts: Feb. 27. Continues through March 22, 2014

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Olivia Flores Alvarez