is the grass any bluer...

is the grass any bluer...
on the other side?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

BCTC's Meredith Crutcher Brings Dimension to Her Character In RUINED

Being on stage is nothing new to Meredith Crutcher.  You've seen her in many productions over the last few years, but tomorrow night when RUINED opens at the Little Theatre, she will be playing the lead role, and her portrayal will convey the life of women in the Congo in a way you will never forget.

Meredith explains how she came to audition and be a part of Pulitzer Prize winning author Lynn Nottage's RUINED.  "Back in February, Tim (Davis) took a few BCTC students down to compete in the American College Theatre Festival in Daytona Beach, Florida, and that is where we got the opportunity to see a performance of RUINED by Tennessee State University's Theatre Department. We were so moved by the performance and story and I was in awe of how many people we talked to after the show that felt the same way. We could all agree that we saw something that touched us in a way were not expecting initially. I knew then that I was looking for a role that could possibly give me the opportunity to move people in the same way. Tim had mentioned that he was considering that show for the next season but we wouldn't hear definitely until late summer. So I kept my fingers crossed until the season was announced."

Meredith thinks it's so important to do a show like RUINED locally, "because it allows us to put our problems into perspective and know that people elsewhere are making do with much less and are in much more severe situations. Tim also made a good point of saying that we are giving these women who have been abused in so many ways a voice that they might not have otherwise. We get the chance to portray life during desperate situations, which hopefully not only evoke empathy but awareness as well to everyone involved in the experience."

When asked if there were any 'scene stealers" in the show, she admitted that there are several. "This story is so layered, that everyone gets their moment to shine. Sharonda Piersall plays Salima, one of my favorite characters in the play and she does an amazing job with her portrayal. Dmetrius Conley-Williams also casts a dark shadow over some scenes as he brings in malice with Commander Osembenga, similar to the evil he portrayed in SummerFest's Richard III," she says.

The last characters Meredieth played were First Murderer and Ratcliff in Richard III during Summerfest. "Those characters were ultimately villainous and I found very little to empathize with but while portraying Mama Nadi, I can draw a bit of the manipulation and deceit from my characters in Richard III. Mama can be a bit self-serving and sometimes it calls for a little manipulation in certain situations."

Crutcher points out that she enjoys "that Mama has the ability to sweep trouble under a rug and continue to smile almost unaffected. She focuses on what will keep her comfortable and keep her business afloat, and the rest are just details. She is straight forward and to the point and if a situation seems as if it isn't to her benefit, then it isn't for her! There are parts of that I admire. There have been times in life where I look around and acknowledge that everything seems like it’s upside down; Mama focuses on what's in front of her and tackles the rest later."

What she does not like about her character is that Mama is so self-serving. "She's is aware that she has built an emotional barrier between herself and others."  Another aspect that is difficult is that the "dialect has been a bit of a challenge. I could probably say it’s been a challenge for all of us at some point or another. The funniest thing is going for this Swahili accent and it sounding Spanish. Bear with me on that!," she laughs.

As most folks relay to me, she's pleased to be working with Tim X Davis again, which she describes as "great, because I get to connect the things he teaches in class to the way he gives direction. I love that he encourages exploration and discovery while building scenes during the rehearsal process because it gives you a greater connection with your character. It has taken me from playing Mama Nadi to being Mama Nadi. In the past I have had the opportunity to work with Tim X Davis in Much Ado About Nothing and Rocky Horror Show. As a student of Tim's, I can always appreciate that he is willing to give students opportunities for new experiences and development."

"Within the last year, I did Three Cheers for the Peanut Gallery, Much Ado about Nothing, Dead Man’s Cell Phone, Rocky Horror Show, Belle Brezing, and Richard III. I was also in A Raisin In the Sun and For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf at University of Kentucky in between 2006 and 2008 and James and the Giant Peach at The Lexington Children’s Theatre in 2005."

Dmetrius Conley-Williams
"My passion for acting came straight from my mother. She has always loved acting and working in the theatre and she tells me that there is a picture somewhere of her stage managing at rehearsal with a script in one arm and me in another. My mom always took the time to expose us to art. My sister went to UK and graduated in Design and Technology in Theatre and is lighting a few shows around town. Getting to see some of the shows she worked on in college help confirm that my heart belongs in theatre. We always agree that I got my mom’s onstage passion and my sister got my mom’s backstage passion for theatre."

She was glad to finally get to work both her mom and sister in Belle Brezing for the first time. "It was one of the best feelings in the world to be able to work with them because not a lot of people get that same opportunity. I will never forget that show!"

Meredith has lovely reason to explore the many possibilities and demonstrate how to florish in the acting world.  "Two years ago I gave birth to my daughter Tristan. She has changed my life immensely since then. For about the first year after having her things in my life got busy and blurry, I wasn’t sure if acting was the smartest career path for a parent, or even if it was the career I still wanted to go for at all. I have gotten a lot of support and encouragement from my family and friends who believe in me. I couldn’t be a full time student, a single parent and spend hours at rehearsal if I didn’t have my family’s support. They understand that I am taking this seriously and this is the career path I have chosen. I am obligated to go for my dreams so that I can set an example for my daughter to do the same."

Where does she see herself in 5 to 10 years?  "I can’t see myself in 5-10 years really because my life has taken some serious turns over the past few years. Ideally I would like to be financially stable doing what I love, either on stage or on the big screen with a husband and perhaps a sibling for Tristan. But who knows what the future holds?  Hopefully, I will still be honing my craft because there is always room for improvement. I have an interest in charitable work creating theatre programs for underprivileged kids so I would love to be able to do that as well."


Meredith claims she doesn't "really have and special talents! :-/ I’m super goofy because enjoy making people smile, and I am a consignment store maven. I have a passion for fashion! I love bargain shopping and I have a knack for finding quality pieces on the sale racks."



RUINED, by Lynn Nottage

10/6 - 10/8

7:30 pm

Tickets $10 for students and $12 for general admission 

(group rates available)

Call 859-225-0370 for ticket information

A rain forest bar and brothel in the brutally war-torn Congo is the setting for Lynn Nottage’s 

extraordinary new play. The establishment’s shrewd matriarch, Mama Nadi, keeps peace 

between customers from both sides of the civil war, as government soldiers and rebel forces 

alike choose from her inventory of women, many already “ruined” by rape and torture when they

 were pressed into prostitution. Inspired by interviews she conducted in Africa with Congo 

refugees, Nottage has crafted an engrossing and uncommonly human story with humor and 

song served alongside its postcolonial and feminist politics in the rich theatrical tradition of 

Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage.


Meredith Crutcher

Manny Wright

Dmetrius Conley-Williams

Sharonda Piersall

Destiny Morton

Gerhonda Canada

Spencer McGuire

Jared Sloan

Jordan West

Kendrel Dickerson

Kevin Avery 

Brooks Dixon



OmniPeace, a Los Angeles-based fashion brand that donates 25% of its profits towards efforts to end extreme poverty in Africa by 2025, has launched a new campaign, Stamp Out Violence Against Women and Girls of the Congo.

Actresses Courteney Cox and Jennifer Aniston and singer Sheryl Crow recently co-hosted a dinner to help raise awareness for the campaign as well as to raise money. All three spoke to Access Hollywood:

“[OmniPeace is] building this place called the City of Joy,” said Cox, an ambassador for the organization. “It’s a healing center for women and children who have been violated.”

OmniPeace is selling specially designed t-shirts in order to help fund the City of Joy, and many celebrities find donating profits that have been generated through consumerism to be a good idea.

“There are so many looming causes that need everyone to be involved in and everyone to be conscious of,” said Crow. “This is one that I really think does escape people because it’s not happening in our own country and it’s so foreign – the idea of using rape as warfare – that a lot of people close their eyes to it. In our own way of consumer-ship, we can have a voice in what happens over there.”

The t-shirts feature drawings by the child victims at the center’s art therapy program.

“[The t-shirt logo] are images that have been made into a collage from these children,” explains Aniston. “You can see all of these drawings. It’s quite disturbing to know that this is what is in front of them… It’s excruciating. [This] is what they see in front of their eyes.”

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Tomorrow night you have the opportunity to see Meredith in her powerful role as Mama in BCTC's production of RUINED. It opens at the new Lucille Little Theatre in Sts Peter and Paul schools on Short Street.  After her many excellent performances in supporting roles, this is an opportunity to see her in a major role, one she has more than the talent and sensitivity to play honestly.  This is a performance you will not want to miss.  The show contains a profound message about the plight of women in the Congo and in other countries around the world where they have absolutely no rights.  We must listen to these voices and do what we can to speak up on behalf of them -- check out the details, reserve your seat, and go see this  play. It will make a difference!

see you at the show,

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