What would be an interesting spectacle for this play?

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The idea of spectacle could effectively be applied to Ruined because of the play’s connection to Bertolt Brecht’s epic theater. In many respects, Ruined is a contemporary adaptation of Brecht’s anti-war work, Mother Courage and Her Children . Brecht advocated for exposing the theatrical conventions so that the audience was...

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The idea of spectacle could effectively be applied to Ruined because of the play’s connection to Bertolt Brecht’s epic theater. In many respects, Ruined is a contemporary adaptation of Brecht’s anti-war work, Mother Courage and Her Children. Brecht advocated for exposing the theatrical conventions so that the audience was always aware that they were watching a play. He rejected the traditional realism of traditional theater. The spectacular aspects of his works would emphasize the artifice of the work, thus stimulating and even shocking the audience.

In Ruined, there is a large amount of violent action taking place off-stage. Mama’s bar is both a commercial establishment in which women are sexually exploited and a place of refuge where people can escape the war. Creating scenes of the war could give the audience a heightened awareness of that world and the precious moments of respite that the characters find inside. The conflicts between Osembenga and the rebels could be depicted. This could be accomplished without dialogue, such as through dance. The designer could drop a scrim in front of the bar and create the war environment with lighting as the actors perform in front of the scrim. This type of scene could be compared to Brecht’s “gestus,” in which physical action communicates social meaning.

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