Ursinus students had the uncommon opportunity to act in a drama by a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright who was in the audience for a performance.
Theater Professor Domenick Scudera directed the award-winning play, Ruined, by Lynn Nottage, for the Greater Reading Alliance of Community Theatres. Nottage’s latest project is based in Reading, so she has been spending time in the Berks County city. “The production that I have directed has been planned to coincide with her project in Reading, so it was a fantastic opportunity for us to work on this important play with the playwright being available to us,” said Scudera.
Three Ursinus students are involved with the production. Theater major Brendan Howseman 2014 and Trent Bunyan 2017 were in the cast. First-year student Owen Bigelbach was the stage manager.
“Ruined was a great experience for me and, I believe, for the students involved,” Scudera said. “It is a rare occasion that a world-renowned playwright attends a performance of a show produced by a small company in a small city. We were fortunate that Lynn Nottage is currently working in Reading on her latest project, and that she was so supportive of bringing Ruined to Reading audiences. Her work is centered around community engagement, and she felt that bringing Ruined to Reading could have a healing, helpful effect on the community.”
The play, set in a brothel amid warring factions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, was the inaugural production of the Greater Reading Alliance of Community Theatres. Nottage is working on a new play about the city’s dire economic state.
“She was gracious and kind to all of us involved with the project, from cast to crew to administration. Her play is an important one and her down-to-earth personality was most welcome,” Scudera said.