Ruined by Lynn Nottage: An Exploration of Women and Violence

Date of Award

Spring 4-27-2022

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Theatre and Dance

Department Chair or Program Director

Stull, Gregg

First Advisor

Brewer, Cate

Major or Concentration



This project is a dramaturgical exploration of the play Ruined by Lynn Nottage. Ruined is based on the true stories of women from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who experienced trauma such as rape, torture, and family disownment. Nottage’s play gives a voice to women and their experiences in a war zone. Dramaturgy is defined as the study of dramatic composition and theatrical representation. The purpose is to create a guide for the artistic team for the production to be as accurate as possible. This guide includes information on the author including her process and research while writing this show, information on the production history, a synopsis of the plot and characters, a timeline and discussion on the history of conflict in the DRC, the implications that occurred because of the conflict, and a glossary of unknown words from the play. This project explored the weaponization of sexual violence against women and how the portrayal of these women’s reality can affect change within a society. It explores the interaction between theatre and politics, between a fictionalized depiction and reality. This project educates an audience on sexual violence in warfare and how detrimental it is to the people it is committed against.