The Republic of Congo in sub-Saharan Africa is hardly paradise, despite mineral resources worth trillions of dollars. Sexual violence, a byproduct of the continued Hutu-Tutsi civil war that has been going on for years, ravages the country. Playwright Lynn Nottage uses this strife as the basis of her work Ruined, a gripping work that won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for drama. Based on real-life interviews with Congolese women, Nottages play uses the cozy confines of a brothel to tell the story of an astute whorehouse proprietor, Mama Nadi (a character modeled after Brecht's Mother Courage), and to comment on the horrors of the war going on outside. Directed by Ricardo Khan and starring Nedra Dixon, it previews at 8 p.m. at the Unicorn Theatre (3828 Main, 816-531-7529). The show runs through May 1. See unicorntheatre.org or call 816-531-7529 for ticket information.
Tuesdays-Thursdays, 7:30 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Starts: April 20. Continues through May 1, 2011