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."
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."
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."
ABOUT THE PLAY:
RUINED, by Lynn Nottage
10/6 - 10/8
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.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
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.
The t-shirts feature drawings by the child victims at the center’s art therapy program.