Hollywood news website, Deadline, is reporting that Oprah Winfrey will take Lynn Nottage’s play Ruined to the big screen. Commissioned by Chicagos’s Goodman Theatre and playing to acclaim in select international venues, such as London’s Almeida, Ruined enters the lives of three women in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Facing war and the shortages it brings, but most of all the violence, the play’s dramatic highs and low are ripe for the cinema.
My companion and I actually left the theatre casting the film, but I can’t recall if we cast Oprah as central character, bar owner, Mama Nadi. Nonetheless, reactions across the web to Oprah taking another stab at acting are mixed…stop. I’m lying. Reactions are not “mixed”: people are pretty much uniformly asking for an Oprah-break. As I note in the introduction to Stories of Oprah, success and critical acclaim seem to evade The Queen of All Media’s grasp when it come to being a thespian.
And, as Trystan Cotten notes in his chapter, “Lost in Translation,” the process of de-politicization that happens when Harpo, Inc. gets ahold of a great novel can have not-so-great results.
Let’s hope the name of the play doesn’t become a too convenient diss because Nottage won the Pulitzer for this play for good reason: it’s dynamic, smart, moving, and intricately examines the complexity of women’s bodies as collateral in war. Quick: read the play and read Trystan’s chapter!