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Theater Worth Watching

A Congolese soldier stands guard at a trial for 11 people charged with mass rape. Pete Muller/AP hide caption

toggle caption Pete Muller/AP

A Congolese soldier stands guard at a trial for 11 people charged with mass rape.

Pete Muller/AP

The news in the theater world is that Christopher Tierney, the battered actor, is back to work on the embattled Broadway show Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark. That's the type of play I want to see: action, adventure, injury, $65 million.

But, living in Washington, D.C., Spiderman isn't just a night on the town. This past weekend, though, a wonderful show opened at the recently renovated Arena Stage.

Lynn Nottage's "Ruined" depicts the toll systemic rape takes on individuals, families, businesses, relationships, entire regions, in Congo. No, it doesn't sound uplifting, but it does an excellent job showing how the horrific crime separated families, tribes and neighbors. Most importantly, it shows the individual resolve of the Congolese, struggling through years of civil war and atrocity.

And, for a non-theater goer like myself, it kept me interested with powerful singing, moving vocals, and the ability to humanize things we in the West could never understand ... probably why it won the Pulitzer in 2009. Hopefully it does something to raise awareness — and action — about the atrocities in Central Africa.

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